Please welcome Fil Cvetkovic to TTAC. Fil owns a manufacturing firm involved in automotive, aircraft and other industries – and has a long history with owning, repairing and giving up on obscure project cars. Fil will be reporting on used vehicle auctions, and likely picking up new projects for the ame time.
Being the new kid on the block at TTAC, I figured an appropriate place to start would be introducing myself. My name is Filip Cvetkovic, but many know me as Fil or… “Phil with an F.” More importantly, I have more or less dedicated my entire life to the pursuit of unicorns. No, not the mythical creature, I’m talking about the cars that are made of unobtanium. As of this moment, at the ripe young age of 25, I’ve owned 96 cars. Many of which were never even available to Canadians.
Today’s Quote of the Day actually comes from someone I know, with a used car question.
“this guy im sleeping with wants to sell me 05 caliber 125k [77,000 miles] for $6k. Good deal?”
Jack Baruth has a very thoughtful post on selling his green stick, apparently an Audi. (See No Fixed Above: Stick it to ‘em.) Here I delve into his logic as a devil’s advocate.
A key observation throughout his post is that most (newish) used cars move through dealerships, and for many there is an auction through a Mannheim or Adesa in between the trade-in and the used car lot. The same is true in Japan: the graphic above is of a car auction in Osaka, though on-site buyers sit at computers with a huge display of the two virtual “lanes” with no audible action. (For more see my post on a June 2014 visit at Auto Auctions, Japanese Style.)
The current shortage of used cars, along with record prices for second-hand vehicles, is likely to come to an end, according to ALG.
Daihatsu’s American foray lasted just four short years, from 1988-1992. Roughly ten Daihatsu cars are still for sale – not bad, considering they probably didn’t sell many more than that in total.
There it stood, right next to the Michael Jordan Wheaties display.
A brand-new 1992 yellow Geo Metro convertible.
Price Chopper, a local New York supermarket chain (think Pathmark or Albertson’s on crack) was opening up a brand new location in Saratoga Springs.
The Metro would be the perfect vehicle for upstate New York’s salty roads and wickedly cold weather for one irrefutable reason. It was free… after tax, tag and title. The only thing I had to do was figure out how to win it.
So I got busy. 150 entries a day for 3 full months. 13,000 in all. The day came for the drawing, and I won!
That was the asking price for a 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser down at my local Chrysler dealer back in June 2008. Throw in a $1500 rebate or the “Refuel America” $2.99 per gallon guarantee into the equation, and you may have ended-up with a pre-tax, tag, title price right around $10,300.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
Then again, was it? There are a lot of long-term factors to consider when approaching any of the less popular new cars that are in their last years of production. Not all will be a good deal. But you may be surprised. Join me now as we journey down the PT-shaped rabbit hole.
What would be the most reliable car I can purchase for about $7000-8000? And what would be the upper limit on mileage that I would even consider?
“Steve, what car should I buy?”
“Well, if I give you the real answer, you’ll roll your eyes and buy what you want anyway.”
“No really. I’m open to new ideas.”
“Okay then! Buy a 2012 Malibu. Buy a Buick Park Avenue. Buy a Dodge Raider or buy a Suzuki Equator.”
“Ummm… are you sure about that?”
“Hell no! Now go buy me a soda and buy yourself a Camry!”
A reader writes:
I have a 2007 Pontiac G6 coupe which, up until last fall, had been a pretty decent car.