By on January 22, 2014

07dts1

98 dealers are busy looking at 89 vehicles. Check engine lights are being scanned. The hoods are opened, engines are revved, and Bluetooth is the technology of the moment. Wholesalers, along with professional car buyers like me, are busy making arrangements with those dealers and individuals who want to buy an auction vehicle on the cheap.

There’s only one problem with all this. We’re on the eve of tax season. A time where everyone short on dough files a tax return on the expectation of a nice four-figured refund in early February. Millions of those refunds will eventually be used towards one of three purposes: paying down debt, purchasing electronics, or putting a down payment towards a nice used car that will likely be financed to the hilt.

The prices at this specific auction are always high. But today, they were in outer space.

94Mark1

It all started with #9. A rolling museum piece with only 56,812 miles. Yes, that

This 1994 Lincoln Mark VIII was the cleanest vehicle I have found of it’s ilk in nearly six years. The leather seats were pristine. The body was as smooth as can be with none of the bumper ridden scuff marks that are all too common in the last of the great Lincoln coupes. I was so enamored with it, that I posted the vehicle on Facebook for my fellow Lincoln enthusiasts to admire. One of which apparently goes by the name of Doctor V8.

It’s rare for me to find an old car at the auctions that was a showhorse instead of a workhorse. So naturally, like every other old vehicle I find, I try to get it out to the enthusiasts among us. After a short drive, I am at the auction at the crack of dawn downloading pictures to the doctor, in a climate that I can only describe as the Atlanta arctic.

mark81

mark83 mark82

Yes, that is ice forming on the hood. Atlanta is now nearly as cold as the rest of the east coast.

I told the doctor that I thought the price would go for a round $3300 on the block. Lo and behold, I got up to $3400 and of course, someone else out there outbid me at $3500. If this had been an LSC model of a 96′ vintage, I would have kept going. But a $3500 bid plus a $165 auction fee, plus my fee of $300 for inspect, appraising and buying the car (I gave him a discount) would have resulted in a 20 year old car with $4000 invested. That $4000 is before any unforeseen reconditioning costs, or the cost of shipping it out to Texas. It was obviously time to cut bait. An act that I was bound to repeat with several more cars that day including this one…

03rover80k1

this one…

00Maxima1

and this one… 02SantaFe

 

I just couldn’t get a break, and then of course, it happened.

There are cars that I will sometimes buy just for the learning curve that can come from actually getting it ready for sale. Sounds silly on the surface. But a lot of my early fortunes came from fixing unique problems on vehicles that don’t require as much of an investment as people think. YouTube Preview Image

Administering the Gibbons method on the transmissions of 2000 to 2007 Volvos that have the number 60,70, or 80 in their name.

YouTube Preview Image

Replacing the resistors on the instrument clusters of Buick Centurys and Regals that no longer show their odometers.

These types of vehicles, and many others, don’t move that quickly on the lots. Especially these days. But if you focus on a few unpopular vehicles with a lot of high-end features, and try to hit em’ where they ain’t, you can lay the groundwork for doing well on the finance side of this business.  A loaded car that has been maintained well will almost always be taken over the plain jane cloth version of an older popular vehicle.

So every once in a blue moon, I experiment.

sat1

This is a vehicle that nearly everybody in my business is scared shitless over buying. Not because they have bought it. But it is more or less the triumvirate of challenge. Hard to fix. Gas guzzler. Volkswagen. I have never bought one of these before. But the more I looked online on the day before the sale, and the more I talked to one of the mechanics in my neck of the woods who specializes in Volkswagens and Audis, the more I liked the idea of testing the waters and seeing what happens.

sat2

So this is it. A 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 with an automatic and the 4motion all-wheel drive system. 155k and no announcements. I bought it for $2600 plus a $155 auction fee which was only $100 more than a plain jane 05 maroon Taurus with a cloth interior, 130k miles, and the Vulcan V6.

sat3

This car has the fuel economy of a minivan (18 city / 25 highway) and drives ‘heavy’ on the road. It’s actually not a bad vehicle from an engineering standpoint, and I think it has a compelling look to it when you see it in person. At least the color and the wheels are distinctive enough to attract eyeballs at a retail lot. However, as the great Robert Farago pointed out in his review of this vehicle, this car is pretty much the dowdiest V8 luxury car in the German fleet of that era.

If you are a road warrior in the rust belt who happens to know a VW mechanic and isn’t against buying a spare VW from a salvage auction company like Copart or IAA, I can see this car working out. Heck, you could probably sell off the parts through enthusiast sites and make your money back on the donor car with plenty of parts to spare for yourself.

I probably wouldn’t do it though. This uber-Passat came from an era with too many uber-cars that were simply under-engineered for the long haul. Pontiac Grand Prix GTP’s with combustible transmissions, Jaguar S-Type R’s with the potential for more high cost breakables than a pissed off bull in a Chinese pottery shop.

The Audi everything, the Mercedes everything else, the Northstar equipped Cadillacs, and of course the Beelzebub of all luxurious automotive devils, the BMW 7-series from that same era mid-200′s era. The whole heavy, straight line, high maintenance, high repair era of automobiles from the Bush era has given a lot of tinkerers the opportunity to be screwed once they realized that it truly takes a lot of experience and equipment to keep these things going past the 100k mark. Not to mention money for ever more rare electronics. Oh well.

There was one opposite side to that storm of deserved depreciation. This 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser.

99Cruiser1

 

250,000 miles divided by 50 verifiable visits to the Toyota dealership apparently equaled an $8500 net purchase at the auction. That price was $500 more than a 2011 Nissan Sentra S with only 67k miles, and $700 more than a 2007 Volkswagen GTI with 76k miles.

99cruiser2

It even beat the holy water out of a 2003 Land Rover Discovery with 80k miles that went for $5700. The difference is that the Land Rover had the usual Christmas tree lights on the dashboard (check engine, ABS, traction control, hill descent, etc) while the only malady of the Land Cruiser was the odometer cluster that actually worked. This Land Cruiser will likely be exported and have it’s odometer rolled back. As for that Range Rover? It went to a specialist.

Apparently knowing how to fix em’ and offer them to an enthusiast audience has it’s benefits… and it’s pitfalls. What a hell of a way to start off a Monday. Anyone want a Passat?

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95 Comments on “Hammer Time: What Hath Thou Wrought?...”


  • avatar

    > So every once in a blue moon, I experiment.

    I scrolled past this and saw the “W8″ badge and actually said “Oh noooooo!” at moderate volume.

    The B5 (and B5.5) Passat was no durability prize *before* they decided to put this science experiment engine under the hood.

    I could see why it’s attractive….really drove like a richer car, and it looks clean.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I still love the looks of the B5.5 Passat. Even in 2014 it looks modern and understated even though that design came out in 2001. Which says a lot for current car designs and how horrible they are in general. However, there’s no way in hell I’d ever buy a W8/4motion version. Maybe a TDI (if there’s documentation that it’s been changed to a gear drive balance shaft module) or a 1.8T if the price was right, but a W8/4motion could get very expensive. Good luck with whatever you end up doing with it!

      And I thought the clear coat was severely messed up on that Lincoln until I realized Atlanta has actually received frost recently.

      • 0 avatar
        ash78

        We’ve got a B5 and a 5.5 in the stable, the latter is a 4mo V6 wagon which is only marginally better than a W8 model for reliability (and woo-hoo, 17/24 mpg…which is honestly about the same as any AWD Volvo or Subie from the era)

        It’ll definitely re-center your “norm” on reliability. I don’t think these have been too bad to us, so just about anything else will probably seem like a dream :D

        • 0 avatar

          I saw a W8 sedan 6MT for $3500 at a local BHPH a few months back. I was flush with cash at the time, and I stayed the hell away from it. Maybe this year we can do some creative accounting and find money in the budget for some kind of idiotic project car.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Please make sure its not a W8 anything. You would be better off with seven $500 GM cars from the early 90s.

          • 0 avatar
            Steven Lang

            Derek, if you really want idiotic project cars you should take a gander at what I have been posting on Facebook the last two months. I’ve pretty much covered the gamut.

          • 0 avatar
            Steven Lang

            I was thinking more in the lines of a Cadillac stretch limo.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    Land Cruisers of that vintage seem to have quite a following. 1/2 the guys I know are looking for a good one of those, or the Lexus twin to it to do some offroad mods to and keep as their “bug out” vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I think the LC100s not only have incredible build quality and durability, but they have very good understated presence on the road. Classic SUV shape, handsome and straightforward styling. Silky smooth V8 and roomy interior round out the package. I’d love to own one at some point, it’s like a more family friendly and more luxurious version of my 4runner.

    • 0 avatar
      rileyru

      Yeah I’ve always wanted one, but I recently settled for a good used 2008 4runner from the same design era, with the same drivetrain (4.7L 2UZ-FE and full-time 4WD with low-speed transfer case)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    That Mark VIII is fricking gorgeous.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      Amen. I would have been all over that car at that price.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Although Steve makes a good point on reconditioning costs, heck 5 is worth it. There was a gorgeous 95 Riv/52K on Craigslist around here months back for 5 even, a “firm 5″ claimed the ad. I almost went and looked but I’ve got other cars that need maint and the budget can only over so much.

      • 0 avatar
        MadHungarian

        I’ve always wanted a Mark VIII, and I too wasn’t offended by the price for this one, if the photos accurately reflect the condition. However, what has always held me back from buying one is the fear of having to repair that complex four-wheel active air suspension setup. I’ve put coil springs on the rear of a 1992 Town Car when its air suspension went out, but is there a cheapo fix for the Mark, and if so do you really want to do it?

        • 0 avatar
          olddavid

          You can use the pieces from a Thunderbird/Cougar. They also have the SLA suspension. Although I prefer the stock setup. It makes for easy height adjustment when experimenting with wheel/tire combos. I think its an old man thing, as most hereabouts install steel and Koni.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Why would Lincoln take this from us? Is this Jacques Nasser’s fault? I can only assume it is.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I love my ’04 B5 M/T 1.8T wagon, and you’ll pry it’s keys from my cold, dead, hands (or a smoking pile of wreckage or smoking puddle of motor oil, whichever comes first.)

    With that said, you are a brave, brave, man. The price you paid for the vehicle isn’t bad, but it’s 2nd only to the infamous Phaeton in “niche” VW’s. I fear it may take you a while to unload it, even if it is in great condition and being offered for a fair price.

    And if anything is wrong with it? Yep, it’s a bear to work on; as I’m sure you can already see, the engine bay is a little cramped, to say the least.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    What about that DTS? The 2006-07 models with roughly 80K are going for roughly $12,000 retail asking price with room for negotiation.

    I’m tempted to pull the trigger on an “improved” Northstar just for eating up the highway miles. I wouldn’t even turn the key unless the trip was at least 50 miles (round trip.)

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I feel like the majority of DTSes made were black, because every time I see one, it’s black.

      Which is good. I’ve never been a fan of white or tan Cadillacs and a DTS would look awkward in red, blue, or green.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Nu uh! Red metallic DTS in Performance trim, color keyed grille. Looks just fine.

        Found an example for you.

        http://photos.ecarlist.com/2Z/kL/Mi/8R/Zq/va/Ea/mC/Uf/hu/vQ_640.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @CoreyDL, that is nice, Auto Trader had an ad for a dealer in Utah with a 2007 model, Red Metallic, black leather interior, heated seats front and rear. Just needed a nice window tint to be totally evil.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            That does look rather good. Though if I’m going to get Performance trim, I might as well get a STS. =P

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’ve never seen a car model which needed the right trim/wheels/grille/tints/interior color/options package to look good as much as the DTS does.

            That being said, Diamond Dust with matching grille and a good chrome wheel style works too.

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cadillac-DTS-Base-Sedan-4-Door-4-6-l-cd-8-speakers-mp-3-decoder-radio-data-system-xm-radio-air-/131099464993?forcerrptr=true&hash=item1e86231521&item=131099464993&pt=US_Cars_Trucks

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            NoGoYo, FWD STS are cheap, RWD STS are expensive on the used market. And choosing a FWD STS means the newest one you can get is a 2005. For my money and GMs philosophy of making customers beta testers, I’ll take the newest Northstar I can afford.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s right, and the expensive rear-drive STS has a WORSE THAN CRAP interior.

            I wanted to like the STS, and the STS4, I really did. I was even into the styling of those RWD ones. But stepping inside was a ticket to discount CTS Saabworld, and I wasn’t into it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            MY04 was the final year of the FWD Seville, not MY05. Being the Northeast, we always had a plethora of Sevilles ranging from 93 to about 02 at any given time when I worked in the business. The 98+ ones were extremely cheap and had numerous problems, I wouldn’t take one for free.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Seville

        • 0 avatar
          56BelAire

          Thanks Corey, I own an ’09 DTS Premium, Dark Red, Gray Gut, Chrome Wheels, thickest clearcoat I’ve ever seen. Love the car, it’s a real looker. It’s strictly my roadtrip car, up to nearly 30MPG cruising cross country.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        It wouldn’t surprise me if the reason most of them are black is by the time they were exclustively called DTS, car services were the ones buying most of them.

        Also, the going rate for a DTS versus a same year/mileage Town Car never really surprises me.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      You can get a Lexus LS with about 125k miles (2002-4 era) for $12k; a little older but a much better and more durable car.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This. LS is what you want in a modern cruiser.

      • 0 avatar
        DeeDub

        ‘Zactly! I’m actually flip flopping between getting a last-gen 400 and a first-gen 430 – I like the 400 exterior better, but the 430 interior better. I think I should wait until tax return season is over though, too many other fish chasing the same bait.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I agree that something was lost between the last 400 and the starting 430. It lost Japani-ness and elegance-ity. The interior on those 400′s is looking mighty dated though, but it’s screwed together properly.

          I think I’d go with a well-maintained 400 in proper colors, OR find a 430 with the Ultimate option package for all the controls in the back.

          Probably end up going with a two-tone 400 though. Or one in that Aspen mist green metallic color, which is timeless.

          http://imganuncios.mitula.net/lexus_ls400_99273418042769430.jpg

          Look at that face.

          • 0 avatar
            DeeDub

            And with the right wheels, such a profile:

            http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachments/ls400/214501d1309168068-my-1999-ls400-with-oem-gs460-wheels-img_0609.jpg

            I’m not really down with the UL package though. It’s not like I’ve got a chauffeur.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Well those are drug dealer wheels on the 400, but YMMV lol.

          • 0 avatar
            DeeDub

            They’re Lexus stock from a GS460, not even chrome. You gotta loosen up a little!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            But still, too flash for that car, and too low profile as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It’s the super-dark tinted windows that set off the wheels making the whole thing just a bit too ghetto

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Personally, I’m not paying 12K for an 06-07 with those miles (too old) no matter what the market is doing, maybe a 09-10. If you’re looking for a Cadillac highway cruiser its 4.9 or go old school with a 368/425, IMO.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Nice read and accurate description of mostly EU overpriced and poorly engineered status symbol cars.
    For those that can afford the maintenance.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    -Why would you want an 03 Disco II at ANY price to try and fix/sell? And it’s black, and it doesn’t have tints. Ugh. And you called it a Range Rover at the end.

    -I saw that Passat in the back of one of the first photos, and I knew you were gonna end up with it! Dunno how I knew that. Good price (seemingly) and presumably it’s been at VW Home Station lots of times to make it to 155k miles. I’ve only seen one or two W8′s in life, and one was coming from Canada.

    -Why the herr do people pay so much for an LC at an auction, when you can do better than this on ebay any day of the week? At 250k miles, that’s still a lot for any car to endure, and that’s before the interior got all nice looking (not including the LX).

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I dunno if it would be much cheaper on eBay, FJ80 Landies can go for 10k there.

      I’d rather have a 3rd gen 4Runner, still quite a good SUV but a lot cheaper and more common.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I’ve been very pleased with my 3rd gen 4runner, it’s a potent combination of stupendous build quality, capability, DIY friendliness, and dirt cheap and easily available parts. They’re pretty simple rigs in terms of design, and the earlier ones like mine have a minimum of fancy electronics/traction control. Buy in price is higher than other SUVs of similar vintage, but you get what you pay for.

        I had a fuel injector start to cut out right before christmas (so much for reliability eh?), a new (NOT reman) made in Japan injector was just $52 on RockAuto. As cheap and easy as any domestic to get parts for. Suspension/brakes/tune up stuff is readily available in a myriad of different manufacturers. Forum knowledge is never ending. Every single repair you could ever think of is documented with photos and a good write up.

        In the minuses column I’d put the on-road handling and high floor that squeezes interior space. Fuel economy is about what you’d expect: 17-18 in mixed driving, I’ve gotten as high as 22 mpg going 65-70 on the highway since my fuel injector repair.

        Stock for stock off road, I’d put my 4runner up against just about anything short of a Wrangler Rubicon.

        • 0 avatar
          luvmyv8

          Indeed, the 3rd Gen 4Runners are stout beasts. That and the Tacoma from the same era as well. The 5VZFE 3.4 V6 is bullet proof as they come. Also relatively mechanically simple.

          Plus if you can find it, Toyota offered these with the 3.4 V6, 4WD and 5 Speed…. some even having an electronically locking rear diff, very rare though.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah I’d love to have a 5spd in mine, being a Limited, it has the 4spd auto and rear e-locker as standard equipment. The auto itself isn’t bad, a very sturdy unit borrowed from the LC80 if I’m not mistaken. I like how the shifter is shaped like some sort of 80s-arcade fighter jet joy stick.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I think the only reason to buy a Disco is out of pure love, and even then that one was worth maybe $3k tops. The xmas tree of lights is around a grand to fix, maybe more.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s what I was thinking, I would have trouble giving $3k unless I knew EXACTLY what all the issues were. I’d suspect more than a grand to fix even the air suspension issue. There’s no SD7 or whatever the best trim level was (fender below turn blinker), so it’s not a particularly nice one either.

        And I bet it’ll need a headliner replacement.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          @Corey — I actually spent a lot of time researching used Discos when I had this nostalgia for one recently. There are a ton of sub-$4k Discos on the market in varying degrees of condition. You don’t fix the air suspension, you replace it with coil springs for around $3-400. A new ABS controller is 2 grand, but a repair can be done for $200.

          But since I did that research I found dozens of other things that can break on these things, sensors, controllers, blown engines, etc. The nostalgia wore off quickly, and I moved on to my nostalgia for Fox-body Mustangs.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’ve considered DiscoII’s more than once when going for cheaper used cars. I always get turned off by all the forums and things like that list you just provided.

            And it’s not like the answer is “spend more and buy a nice one” because they have the same damn issues as the cheap ones do. Can’t escape the “That’ll do!” build quality.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      I always interchange the words Land Rover with Range Rover. Even in casual conversation. It may be because back in the day, there was a Land Rover Range Rover. Everyone called it a Range Rover even though it was really a Land Rover that just so happened to be called a Range Rover because…

      Aw, the hell with it! Can I just call it one of the many spawns of Beelzebub and leave it at that?

      http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/car-dealer-scientific-guide-10-worst-used-vehicles-222709616.html

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Dat means you old yo. Ha.

        So after reading your Yahoo thing, do you find the 1st iteration of Millenia has the same issues? I’ve always read they did serious cost cutting for the ~01 restyling, and that the first ones were more of a Lexus competitor, since for the Enfini/Eunos doomed brand.

      • 0 avatar

        Samir Naga…Naga…not gonna buy this unreliable junk anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I get how regular people mix up Range Rover and Land Rover but as a car dealer and a car guy I am surprised you do. It’s very clear, one is a manufacturer and one is a model. Dumb model name but still, not like they have a few dozen models to mix up.

        • 0 avatar
          Steven Lang

          Where I grew up, Range Rovers were never called Land Rovers… and few folks had a care about the other models sold by Land Rover.

          Besides, the name Range Rover sounds a lot better to my ears.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            Where I grew up Corvettes were never called Chevys, and the name Corvette sounds better too so I guess we can call all Chevys Corvettes now. :)

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @PrincipalDan: I didn’t know that, I thought pre-bailout Caddys were all cheap because of usual GM stigma. Except for the XLR, of course.

  • avatar
    ash78

    The problem you’ll find with the W8 is that it has a pretty long list of stuff that requires the engine to be removed in order to perform. Our V6 models have a VERY CRAMPED engine compartment (a real knuckle buster, within which I’ve actually LOST probably half a dozen tools over the years, never to be seen again).

    I have seen under the hood of the W8 and it can best be described as an infinite labyrinth. On the plus side, it’s a beefy engine, is mounted longitudially, and has a proper 50/50 Torsen AWD system. For a heavy sedan, it’s nicely balanced and reminds me of an E39 540 with softer suspension.

    As a parts car, you could piece it out for several times what you just paid — most of the bits are compatible with the rest of the B5 models.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      My neighbor had a W8 up until October of 2012, when he got in a fender bender during the first snowfall. The front bumper was torn off, and you could see both the coolant recovery tanks and what appears to be windshield washer reservoir stuffed into the bumper area.

      There was very minor structural damage to the front sheet metal, but it was still written off. Maybe the insurer thought it was worth more as parts than as a repair.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Interesting stuff. I did that same transmission flush on my Volvo 01 S60 at 90k. Easy and inexpensive if you buy the special ATF at Toyota by the case. Volvo charges 3-4 times as much.

    The used market seems crazy to me now. Lexus begs my wife to sell her 07 RX350 to them with every oil change (yes we get oil changes at Lexus, free coffee/tea and breakfast and only $30). Then they offer prices $4000 below retail. So they make $2000+ on our car when they resell it and whatever they get selling us a new car. No thanks.

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking I should flush the transmission fluid in my mom’s 2003 Volvo S60, so it’s fortuitous to come across this article with a video on doing just that.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Buy the Type IV ATF fluid from Toyota. Best price you will find. You need a case+. I found it pretty easy, and just bought the kit for $15-20 online from one of the Volvo enthusiast places. Wasn’t difficult.

    • 0 avatar
      rdchappell

      I had the ATF changed on my girlfriend’s 2001 Jetta changed, as I do not trust the ‘lifetime’ fluid bullshit. Lots of people have their AT’s fail after 100k because of this. It’s the only serious power train problem with these cars (with the 2.0L engine), and all easily avoidable with a $200 fluid change.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Have you noticed how every Dodge dealership has a bunch of 2013 Dodge or Chrysler vans with 25k to 35 k miles. These are rental- program-lease cars apparently . Do they do this just to keep the manufacture numbers up?

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    you are a brave, brave man steve to take that w8. i am sure that there were more than a few sighs when the hammer went down – it’s gone! it’s gone!

    seriously i know a few who think the ultimate glory hole is a w8 wagon mt and yes it would be a hole alright.

    hopefully you post follow ups somewhere. i am curious as to how it works out.

    for grins and giggles check this out……. Should you buy that used Passat?

    http://www.passatworld.com/forums/42-volkswagen-passat-b5-discussion/328026-should-you-buy-used-vw-passat-flowchart-will-help-you-decide.html

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    trust me. with that crowd i know the double entendre is expected. perhaps not all w8-ophiles so i may be generalizing a bit………..

  • avatar
    Acd

    If it isn’t raining or too cold Saturday I may need to look at the W8 if it’s still available………

  • avatar
    Mark_Miata

    Very interesting discussion of the Passat. I looked at a 4WD station wagon with the V6 a few years ago as a spare winter car. Price was reasonable, but after doing some looking on internet forums I decided not to roll the dice due to worries about repair costs. The one I looked at had more miles and was a bit beat up, so it likely was even less of a reliability candidate than yours, Steve. I wish you the best of luck.

    By the way, you mention at the beginning of the article that the tax return season drives up the demand for used cars since folks have the chance to finance due to having a down payment in their pockets. I’m curious to know if there is a converse, that is, times of the year when demand is lower in general and so prices are likely to be lower.

    Similarly, are there are certain kinds of cars that are less in demand at particular times times of the year? Convertibles in Winter immediately come to mind – are there others?

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      September through early November is fairly soft. No bonuses. No tax refunds. No spending holidays. No back to school shopping on my side of the world.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      In my neck of the woods, the next few months are absolutely the worst time to shop for a car. People will start getting tax refunds hot and heavy next month, and then the company I work for hands out yearly bonuses in March each year. Since there are about 20,000 employees in this area, it really skews the market.

      That being said, it is also an interesting time on local car lots. The dealers here will truck in loads of just-off-lease luxury cars from their dealerships in bigger cities in anticipation of our bonuses. The local Chevy dealer orders extra Corvettes and hot Camaros. It’s a fun time to drive through and look at some iron, but they know everyone is flush and are very hard to bargain with. By the time summer ends, most everyone’s bonuses are gone, and then back-to-school hoovers up what’s left in the parents wallets. I like to buy in October, which jives with what Stephen says.

  • avatar
    Ron

    Steve, have you forgotten everything I taught you about it’s and its?

  • avatar
    mike978

    Steve – do you know how much the Lincoln went for in the end?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Steven, nice article that sat on Yahoo’s front page for several days. It got a lot of positive feedback and that’s saying a lot since Yahoo commenters are usually a nasty lot. Congrats, it was really good

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Prices at Bordentown were LOW! Bought a few out of a snowed-in Manheim New Jersey that was hit so hard, they ran every lane as a ‘postcard sale’ (photos and condition reports, if applicable) over Simulcast.

    Deals? Oh, there were deals alright. Even with $500 a copy transport down to Florida, we’ll end up behind rough book on a few.

  • avatar
    straightsix

    I swore off VW in 2002 after my last of 6 VWs. Never again, each one worse than the one before.

    My first 2 were actually pretty good, a 1985 Golf and a 1987 Scirocco 16v, downhill quickly after that with a series of 3 Passats and finally a Jetta.

    Traded the Jetta in on a first gen Honda Element and took a bath on it but was just happy to have it out of the driveway.

    That Element is still going strong with 170,000 miles and 11 years later.

  • avatar
    Panther Platform

    That Mark VIII is beautiful. Sure miss mine.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I would have immediately payed 5 grand cash + shipping to cali for that lincoln. Man, what a car.

    Currently driving a ’97 bird with 47k on it. 4.6L v8…I love the way the car drives but the interior is as cheap as cheap can get, ug.

  • avatar
    thunderjet

    Someone took care of that Mark VIII. After 20+ years they are usually on their 5th owner and beat to hell with saggy air springs.


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