Within 50 feet of getting out of my old 74 Chevy C10 I hear a familiar voice.
“Hey Steve. How are ya?”
A 6 foot 7 inch monstrosity of a man pats me hard on the back and dislodges the few cobwebs that remained from a 5 AM wake-up call.
Editor’s Note: This is the second part of the series. The first can be found here.
Coffee. Old magazines. Quiet murmurs of conversations. I am stuck in an old office with two dozen other people who are awaiting instructions from a young tattooed lady with a clipboard and a shrill nasal voice.
“Follow me!”, I hear six inches from my ear. It seems like the perfect moment to have a rendezvous with the doctor, the dentist, or the job interview. Or at least someone who doesn’t instantly give me an instant flashback to my New Jersey upbringing.
Not this time. I’m in…
The 420,000 mile Ford truck. The 420,000 mile Chevy truck. The 420,000 mile Camry. The 420,000 mile Accord.
I have covered all of these brands and models to the point now where I just hope, wish and dream of a different vehicle to highlight.
A few months ago I finally had a pair of Saturns make it to the top. A little before that there was a 90′s Altima that handily beat nearly 7000 other cars and trucks. This week…
Forbes recently published an article titled “Cars That Can Last 250,000 Miles (Or More).”
Unfortunately for the author and Forbes, measuring long-term quality of any new or late model is nearly impossible.
Most defects and cost cutting compromises don’t become glaringly obvious until well after the vehicle becomes a common site at the wholesale auto auctions I frequent. That dependable car of yesterday can easily become a rolling pit of the modern day regardless of what seemed to be the reality.
So, I won’t pretend to know the crystal ball of reliability when it comes to any new car. However older used cars are a panacea of good data from actual owners, and to me that’s the only yardstick that truly matters.
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.
When you have 120 dealers looking at the same exact car on a Monday morning, you have three options if you plan on buying a car.
After I saw a 2003 Infiniti FX35 with 220,558 miles sell for $9100 plus the auction fee, I left for good.
My grandma was a bit of a card shark. You name the game, she played it.
You would think that she would show a teeny bit of mercy to a six year old kid like me back in the day. Nope. Not a chance. Whenever she was about to beat me… yet again… grandma would flash an ear to ear grin on her face and bellow out her trademarked version of checkmate.
“Stevie? Do you want the old news? Or the bad news?”
I would flash my own waning innocence in these matters and say, “What about no news?”
No news, indeed. If you are looking to find yet another new name to take on pole position in our weekly mileage race, think again.
So you want a Cadillac XTS but think the price tag is too dear? Chevrolet has an answer with the 2014 Impala, the Caddy’s kissing cousin. By all appearances, the main-stream model is the more attractive and sensible model as well. In between stuffing my maw with leftover breakfast muffins and a Kia sponsored mimosa I tripped across Chevy’s full-size sedan. No, this isn’t the RWD Chevy we’ve longed for, this is Malibu to the max.
Lawdy! Lawdy! Guess who’s 40!
Well, it happened. After a weekend where my daughter scores the game winning basket and the trade-ins numbered 6432, I hit the golden age of middle age.
As for the 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer in the picture, would you believe 403,224 miles? That little factoid was just the very tip of a long data drilldown.
Not to mention a few unusual future contests between the automakers in what will now be called the Trade-In Quality Index… or TIQI for short!
This week has been nothing less than the usual.
The top 5 vehicles were either Toyotas or Ford trucks, with a 2005 Toyota RAV4 that had galloped 425,904 miles skating right past a 2003 Ford E250 with 413,579. Eight of the top ten were either the usual Ford/Chevy/Toyota truck, or a Honda/Toyota car. Only a solitary Vulcan V6 Ford car and a Nissan Maxima interrupted the usual domination. Both of those models I’m thinking about adding to the list just because they are frequent enough to merit that distinction along with Sajeev’s beloved Panthers.
But then again, I did have one big surprise. Anyone remember the Mercury Capri?
What’s the lifted-truck equivalent of a Corvette drag-race calamity? Obviously, it’s the above video. (Warning: LANGUAGE IN VIDEO IS NSFW) But wait, there’s more.
A 2012 VW Jetta TDI Wagon.
It comes with the usual six speed stick that you would find among thousands of other Jetta wagons all over the world.
It has the ‘arrest me red’ color that always comes across as neon pink whenever you photograph it in the sun.
But there are at least two mysterious facets of this urea indulgent uber-wagon. A rare and unusual frame damage announcement in the run list, and only 815 original miles.
I have a question about a 4L60-E transmission in a 2001 Chevy Suburban K1500. The truck has 159k miles. The previous owner purchased the truck 7 years ago with 90k miles and hasn’t changed any fluids in that time other than oil – I don’t know anything about the truck’s early history. (Read More…)
I stole it.
The latest from USA Today suggests now is a good time to buy a Chevy Volt, if that’s what you really want. I checked in with former(?) TTAC scribe Captain Mike Solo, currently helping someone lease a Volt, and he says about the same: lease for $270 a month, with $1500 down. Which includes the government tax credit built into the residual…probably. So what does this all mean? (Read More…)