I admit it. Every once in a while I buy a vehicle that simply doesn’t work out.
Everything checks out at the auction. But then, I get a birthday surprise.
It could be a transmission that randomly goes out of overdrive after about 20 or 30 miles. Or an engine that has far too many aged wires for me to easily track down a stubborn check engine light.
Sometimes I buy a 4000-pound ATM machine that only allows you to put money into it; a rolling lemon, par excellence. Then I have to figure out how to make it into lemonade, lemon meringue pie, lemon tart, and even repair fodder for the other rides on the road that are still lemon-free.
Lemons are never fun… but every once in a while fate has a wonderful way of smiling on a pitiful set of circumstances.
I enjoy your columns and thought I would get your input regarding what I should do with my current vehicle, a 2002 Acura TL 3.2. I purchased the vehicle new almost 12 years ago. The Acura has about 200,000 miles on it and is still on its third-transmission. As we all know, the transmission used on this vehicle was problematic but seems to be running okay. The car is very clean inside. (Read More…)
How’d you like to buy a new Chevrolet? A real Chevrolet. Not a Daewoo. Not a New GM assemblage of lowest-bidder Chinese electronics and focus-grouped inoffensiveness. A brand-new Chevrolet from the time when Chevrolet ruled the world with a cast-iron fist. A brand-new 1958 Chevrolet. With four miles on the odometer.
The bare and plain fact that TTAC was, to some degree, built on the GM Death Watch series often causes our readers to think that we, as a group of writers, hate GM. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your humble author grew up thinking the “Mark Of Excellence” was a mandatory part of every seatbelt buckle and that the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency was the most awesome sedan money could buy. If we’re angry at GM, it’s in large part because the people who ran the company destroyed an incomparable, irreplaceable legacy through their complacency, incompetence, and short-term thinking. The men who ran the company into the ground managed to snatch an improbable defeat from the jaws of victory. There is no hell hot enough for the architects of General Motors’ fall from grace. They destroyed a big part of the United States and there was no, repeat, no reason for it to happen.
And now the emblem of their seemingly deliberate failure is coming up for sale.
During all the turmoil facing hybrid automaker Fisker Automotive recently, from closing its doors to a possible resuscitation led by Bob Lutz, one thing has remained constant: the rapidly collapsing values of the Fisker Karma cars themselves. (Read More…)
I’m a longtime reader of the blog, and also have been car less for the past 17 years. I live in a major Pacific Northwest city and haven’t needed a car. But I’m getting older, I’m partnered up and need to visit in-laws out in the boonies, and I just find myself wanting a car. I don’t want an older car. The two cars I did own back in my teens and early 20s were a 1980s Buick Skylark and a 1988 Dodge Omni. I think dealing with the repairs on those two beaters put a bad taste in my mouth for very old cars. So I’m looking at new or slightly used. (Read More…)
There comes a time when the prices for used cars at the auto auctions go the way of an exuberant bubble.
A small army of consumers get their tax refunds. The car lots wake up from their winter slumber, and values for vehicles go the netheregions of the human imagination.
I sell cars during this time, not buy them. In the last three months of every year I will usually buy a lot to avoid the tax time market prices. Sometimes as many as 12 vehicles in a day. But when tax season comes, I buy a chosen few and sell them by the dozen.
Then, after the buying frenzy begins to ever slowly ebb, there will be a welcome break in those hedonistic valuations. Where instead of winding up $1000 to $1500 behind the selling price, I wind up second to another bidder. Almost always to a guy who has been buying cars for a long time. Today was that day.
Rich, the mastermind behind the Rocket Surgery Racing mid-VW-engined Renault 4CV, just got hired to install a daily-driver-suitable modern drivetrain in a ’53 Ford coupe. The owner wanted to keep it all Ford, EFI makes for much better real-world drivability, and so a late 1980s or newer Ford 5.0 or 5.8 (aka 302 or 351W) V8 engine looked to be the best choice. Running donor cars and trucks that fit those requirements tend to go for four figures, so it was time to hit a Denver-area police-impound auction. Here’s what happened yesterday. (Read More…)
H.J Mulliners gave this model design the name “Flying Spur” which is well documented as the heraldic symbol of the Johnstone Clan in Scotland. The “Flying Spur” was awarded to the Johnstone clan for their help in allowing Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape on horseback.
That’s authentic British heritage, no Bentley-by-Breitling-by-Bentley-by-Brietling-by-Volkswagen needed. You’re looking at one of seven Flying Spurs for sale, from the collection of a Hungarian who escaped that Communist state to become an engineer, succeed beyond his wildest imagination, and acquire top-shelf examples of the Flying Spur wherever they could be found. That’s even cooler than the cars themselves, right?
With Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale over, aging hairy-chested executives are now returning to McMansions all across America, short seven figures but up one or two muscle cars. Yes, there were some big sales this year, like the Batmobile that went for $4.6 million even though it’s based on a Lincoln and doesn’t have any rocket launchers. But this Barrett-Jackson summary is for all the car geeks out there, highlighting a few less publicized sales that still managed to raise my eyebrows as I sat on my couch watching the results and eating donuts.
This 12 year old minivan graced a fairly large audience of dealers that were long dog tired of all the minivans that were passing through. There were green ones that were as unloved as they were large. Purple ones that dated back all the way back to the Y2K era and the peak of minivan mania. A red one that came in an unsellable three door version.
Statistics Canada reports that there are more than 26 million registered vehicles deemed fit to ply our 900,000km of Canadian roadway. Not bad for a group of souls who wear wool socks for six months of the year and feast on poutine. Transport Canada sets regulations for such things (the cars, not the poutine) and is thus charged with crashing, smashing, and otherwise ruining brand new vehicles with single digits on their odometers – all in the name of safety, of course.