The Truth About Cars » Collector http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:44:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Collector http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Beaucoup Patience for a Worthy Corolla? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/piston-slap-beaucoup-patience-for-a-worthy-corolla/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/piston-slap-beaucoup-patience-for-a-worthy-corolla/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2012 14:15:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=430567 Jeff writes: Hi Sajeev: I enjoy your articles advising people on what cars to buy or avoid.  I have a bit of a different problem. My mother recently passed away, and I inherited her 1989 Corolla down in Florida.  She bought it used down there, it has a little over 100,000 miles on it.  The […]

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Jeff writes:

Hi Sajeev:

I enjoy your articles advising people on what cars to buy or avoid.  I have a bit of a different problem.

My mother recently passed away, and I inherited her 1989 Corolla down in Florida.  She bought it used down there, it has a little over 100,000 miles on it.  The car is absolutely mint, as you could imagine for a Florida car.  It runs great, the AC works well, and the body and paint are in excellent condition, as is the interior – it has been kept out of the sun.  Even the engine is in great condition – all the anodized parts still look as new.  Plus, it doesn’t even leak.  It has had regular maintenance, belts, hoses and fluids changed.

My wife and I are both taller people, and don’t fit well into the car.  Plus, it doesn’t have any safety equipment to speak of, besides seat belts.  I always get nervous driving on US 19 with all those Panthers and old people.  At some point we would like to sell it.

I really don’t want the car to go to a kid who won’t take care of it.  I would rather see it go to someone who would preserve the car, maybe a collector of Japanese cars.  It isn’t costing us much to hang onto the car, so it is not an urgent issue, but I would like it to go to a good home.

I’d appreciate your thoughts and comments.

Sajeev answers:

Oh my, that’s a sweet little runner!  And if you think my exuberance for a time capsule grade Toyota Corolla is unfounded, you haven’t spent much time back-to-back between one of these and one of the new Tupperware nightmares sold at Toyota dealerships.

And we all should love mundane, respectable yet ultimately desirable vehicles. If this was a 1986 Mercury Sable LS, I’d beg for the keys!

If a Lincoln-Mercury fan like myself exists, I am sure a Toyota nerd does too. Fingers crossed on that one. But I digress…

I understand the car needs to go, and I am sorry for your loss. I am touched that you won’t let the Corolla just go to anyone, because it’s true: they will ruin it. Even if they don’t mean to, because that’s how it works when a car this old/pristine/unloved enters the used car market. It isn’t a new car and it sure as heck isn’t a Pontiac Trans Am with T-tops, a big block and a 4-speed.

My advice? Hit the forums and ask for advice, starting with Japanese Nostalgic Car. Any and all Toyota forum is a good idea too. Place classified ads in all these forums too, they are usually free and you might meet some nice people to boot.

Put an advertisement in Hemmings or any other classic car publication you like. Be prepared to spend a ton of time and money (relatively speaking) for not much reward in the end.  But, you know the drill, it takes beaucoup patience to sell something as worthy as a honest and clean 1989 Toyota Corolla.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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New or Used: THE PRICE IS WRONG! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/new-or-used-the-price-is-wrong/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/new-or-used-the-price-is-wrong/#comments Fri, 27 Jan 2012 12:02:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=428229 Bing writes: I am a financially stable 27 year old engineer living in the Bay Area, where it seems BMWs and Audis are about as pedestrian as Camrys.  I’ve been getting the car itch, but I don’t like the idea of getting an entry level luxury car like everyone else. Almost by accident, I stumbled […]

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Bing writes:

I am a financially stable 27 year old engineer living in the Bay Area, where it seems BMWs and Audis are about as pedestrian as Camrys.  I’ve been getting the car itch, but I don’t like the idea of getting an entry level luxury car like everyone else.

Almost by accident, I stumbled upon the idea of buying a early 2000s Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante, which can be had in the low to mid $40s.  Aside from the car being gorgeous and powerful, I get to pretend that I’m not just another boring Silicon Valley yuppie (which, believe me, I am) while not being overly flashy (it’s old enough to have a “classic car” vibe).  Financially, I would also like to think it has steadied out in depreciation, and if I sell it a few years from now, I may be able to recoup more of my investment compared to getting a much newer car.  Finally, there’s something attractive about the idea of having your dream car while you’re young, rather than waiting until you’re 65.  So the question is: is this a stupid idea?

1: Am I wrong about the depreciation?  Is this car likely to keep falling in value?  Will there be a demand for it in a few years?

2: Will this be too impractical of a car to drive on a regular basis?  I live less than 2 miles from work so the low mpg is less of an issue.  Will maintenance eat me alive?

3: Is this car too much for me to handle?  My current car is a Ford Focus (which I won on the Price is Right, incidentally) I’d be getting a Touchtronic auto, which should be relatively tame, right?

4: Should I get a normal car now and wait another few years for the DB9 (which is just stunning) to depreciate to a similar price level?  If I got the DB7 now, I may still end up secretly yearning for the DB9.

This is very unfamiliar territory here, so any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Steve answers:

Let’s answer your questions point by point…

1: Am I wrong about the depreciation?  Is this car likely to keep falling in value? Will there be a demand for it in a few years?

Depreciation is always a big question mark. But that’s not so much of a make or break issue if you want an exotic. The real question is whether you fully understand the potential costs involved and the complete maintenance history on the vehicle.

If you don’t understand both, skip the exotic.

2: Will this be too impractical of a car to drive on a regular basis?  I live less than 2 miles from work so the low mpg is less of an issue.  Will maintenance eat me alive?

That gives me caution. Less than 2 miles means that your car is not going to fully warm up by the time you get to your business. You can make up for this by going on a nice pleasurable weekend ride. But a couple thousand small drives over four years would likely have an impact on your engine.

3: Is this car too much for me to handle?  My current car is a Ford Focus (which I won on the Price is Right, incidentally).  I’d be getting a Touchtronic auto, which should be relatively tame, right?

No, it may be a good fit for your desires. By the way, have you price about maintenance and known issues for this vehicle? The four figured price may be ‘over or under’ your expectations.

4: Should I get a normal car now and wait another few years for the DB9 (which is just stunning) to depreciate to a similar price level?  If I got the DB7 now, I may still end up secretly yearning for the DB9.

Your commute gives me a bit of pause. If you have the means or are willing to pay the premium, then go for it. But I would personally opt against driving the two miles, and just walk whenever it’s practicable.

Sajeev answers:

I literally LOL’d at the word “investment” for a 10-ish year old Aston Martin. You are not looking at this right, not by a long shot. Or, put in terms of your Focus, “The Price is Wrong!” Yes, you can make money on anything if you buy it “low” enough. And Steve did a good job explaining the pitfalls of owning an exotic vehicle. All of which makes the word “investment” a bit of a massive lie.

What Steve forgot to mention is that you’ll be a tool for owning a flashy, 100% Not A Classic, not a current body style Exotic with mediocre performance. If someone in a new V6 Mustang challenges your stunt and floss…well, you see where I’m going with this. And your snotty yuppie friends will agree, if one of them has the balls to call you out. Or say it behind your back.

That’s because you have to really like a DB7 to own it. And as the inherently cooler DB9s and V8 Vantages drop in price, so does the DB7.  This isn’t a Ford GT, it still has another good decade or so before the depreciation curve hits rock bottom. Then again, if you buy it for pennies at a police auction…

So keep the Focus if you get a DB7.  And be ready to spend a lot of money on upkeep, none of which you will get back when you sell it for the car you really want: the DB9. Or sell the Focus, get a normal sports car (cough, Corvette) and deal with the lack of prestige while owning a real performance vehicle without the excessive maintenance costs. More to the point, LS7-FTW.

 

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: The Automotive “Farb” Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-the-automotive-farb-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-the-automotive-farb-edition/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2011 01:06:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=398886 Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth Serious Civil War reenactors have a term for folks who don’t measure up to those activists’ high standards for authenticity. They call them “farbs”, as in “far be it from me to criticize another enactor but if they want to be authentic they should be wearing hand stitched woolen […]

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Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

Serious Civil War reenactors have a term for folks who don’t measure up to those activists’ high standards for authenticity. They call them “farbs”, as in “far be it from me to criticize another enactor but if they want to be authentic they should be wearing hand stitched woolen underwear that hasn’t been changed or washed for two months, not BVDs”. Every hobby has its one-uppers. One of the things that I like about car culture is that it’s a mosaic of subcultures. Diversity can be a good thing and I’m a big tent car enthusiast. You may be a trackday fiend who would never slam a lowrider or restore a Messerchmitt microcar, but you can appreciate the folks who would and you can find common ground with them in your shared love of things automotive. Still, none of us like folks who put on airs. Every hobby, though, has its snobs.

We all love our cars and can bore even other car guys with minutia about our favorite marques and models, but at a car show with prewar Packards, don’t you think that it’s a bit pretentious to put “historical’ license plates on a Chrysler K-car?

Every June, the Veteran Car Club of America, the Packard Motor Car Foundation and the Motor City Packards car club sponsor the Cars ‘R’ Stars car show at the Packard Proving Grounds north of Detroit. The theme for this year’s show was “the classic beauty of wood in auto styling”. There was a nice variety of marques represented in addition to the expected Packards, including woodies built by Buick, Ford, Chrysler and Chevrolet.


Someone in the organizing committee must have a sense of humor because in addition to all the maple, ash and basswood carpentry and marquetry present, parked right near impressive classic Chrysler Town & Country and very rare Ford Sportsman woody convertibles, were a couple of mid 1980s Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country convertibles replete with wood grain vinyl and fake wood body cladding. Far be it from me to criticize another car buff, but while I agree that with a total of only 1,105 LeBaron T&C convertibles made from 1983 to 1986 the car is collectible, parking a not-so-well-disguised K-car near all those genuinely classic wood trimmed and bodied cars seemed, well, out of place. It was more of a symbol of Detroit’s decline over the past 3 decades, how it traded on former glories and ersatz luxuries, fake wood, coach lights and opera windows, than of how the beauty of wood is used in automotive styling. In those real woodies, wood is used as an integral part of the design and sometimes even the structure of the cars’ bodies. The LeBaron is not a bad looking car, but its “wood” is clearly an afterthought. It has more in common with plastic clad Pontiacs than with maple framed Mercurys.

Which of these cars’ owners has to worry less about termites?

I’m a kibbitzer, so when I went to take a photo of one of the K-car “woodies”, I joked to the owner that I was surprised that they didn’t make him park at the end, like the members of the Yellow Mustang Registry accept owners of tangerine orange Mustangs into their club but make them park at the end of the row at car shows and meets. I must need work on my comedic delivery because the guy took offense and got indignant. He said that the show organizers told him to park there and that I was “prejudiced”.

Okay, I’m not without my biases. Still, considering that at that car show there were a couple of real 1940-42 Lincoln Continentals, a Continental Mark II, about a half dozen real Oldsmobile 442s, and many other genuinely rare and collectible cars (including quite possibly a car body or two that was actually made by Ray Dietrich’s LeBaron) the K-cars looked out of place. For sure they were in show condition, no doubt the apple of their owners’ eyes, but their placement was quite possibly a joke by the show organizers that this LeBaron T&C owner didn’t get.

Note the period correct mid 1980s style installation of the weatherstripping on this historical American motor vehicle

That sentiment of mine was reinforced when I stepped to the rear of the car and saw that it was wearing “historical” license plates. Talk about pretension and putting on airs! I don’t think that I saw a single other car at that show that had modern day historical plates. There were plenty of cars at the show with vintage license plates, since Michigan now allows owners of old cars to register them with old plates to complete the vintage look. There were also a few cars wearing vintage “historic vehicle”, either period correct or indicating that they’ve been in the hobby for many decades. Though many, perhaps most, of the cars at the Cars ‘R’ Stars show were indeed historic, it was only the one K-car owner that felt he had to prove that his car was significant enough to be recognized so by today’s bureaucrats in Lansing. The other LeBaron owner apparently didn’t find the same need for validation.

Vintage car buffs spare no detail. Z/28 restorers are careful not to extend racing stripes beyond the rear spoiler. Mustang owners make sure that the right grease pencil markings from the factory are under their hoods. No historical plates on this Town & Country but it appears that this owner, like the other LeBaron enthusiast, made sure that the trunk weatherstripping was also exactly as it left the factory.

I’m not an automotive snob. I don’t even like it when jerks who need to be validated with their Lambos and Porsches rightly get called douchebags. Like I said before, the LeBaron Town & Country convertible is at least arguably collectible. As an automotive history buff that has gone out of my way to take photos of a cherry ’91 New Yorker Fifth Avenue to commemorate the final revision of the platform that not only saved Chrysler but spawned almost infinite iterations like these LeBarons and the Caravan/Voyager minivans, I can say that the car is worthy of historic note. It clearly has a community of serious enthusiasts if there were barely more than a thousand made and two of them show up at a single car show. I’m sure that this K-car owner treasures his car as much as the folks who own those Lincolns. A show dedicated to “the classic beauty of wood in auto styling” doesn’t necessarily have to be restricted the beauty of real wood. Still, I would have been more comfortable if either the show organizers had set aside an area separate from the real woodies for K-car LeBarons, Ford Country Squires, “woody” AMC pacers, Family Trucksters and other examples of vinyl applique automotive art.

An original Chrysler Town & Country convertible. Not quite the same thing, is it?

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, which features 3D graphics and outstanding writers to give a realistic perspective on cars and car culture.

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Two Million Dollars In Motion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/10/two-million-dollars-in-motion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/10/two-million-dollars-in-motion/#comments Wed, 27 Oct 2010 14:43:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=370400 As the über-ridiculous Aston Martin One-77 approaches final production-readiness, watching the thing run hot laps is finally becoming as much fun as wrapping your head around its €1.4m ($1.9m) pricetag. Especially because we’re extremely unlikely to ever see one of these things on the street. According to Auto Motor und Sport, Aston has already received […]

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As the über-ridiculous Aston Martin One-77 approaches final production-readiness, watching the thing run hot laps is finally becoming as much fun as wrapping your head around its €1.4m ($1.9m) pricetag. Especially because we’re extremely unlikely to ever see one of these things on the street. According to Auto Motor und Sport, Aston has already received a $14m offer for ten of the One-77’s 77-unit production run, apparently from a single Gulf State collector. So unless you live in one of the tonier neighborhoods of Dubai, you’re unlikely to get any closer to the One-77’s 760 horsepower V-12 than this. Enjoy the taste, peasants.

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