Hammer Time: Oye Como Va!

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time oye como va

Those who know the least are screwed the most (both figuratively and literally). Case in point. 1997 Nissan Pathfinder XE. No leather, but a roof and a helluva good look. 206,852 miles. It sold for the mind numbingly high price of $3800. Why? Well, to find the answer you have to go back to the good old days of the 1970’s when odometers were turned back more often than a stoner at the Lion’s Club. This one will undoubtedly be sold to an immigrant who knows as much about Carfax as yours truly knows about Lawrence Welk’s bubble making machine. As for the domesticated mastodons, a 2004 Explorer repo with 94k miles sold for $4100 and a 2003 Trailblazer with leather and all the options checked, but 131k, sold for $4700. As they say in Detroit Yiddish, “Oy vay! [sic]”

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  • Anoldbikeguy Anoldbikeguy on Nov 19, 2008

    @50merc and eggsalad - You are both delusional here - yeah, I get it you don't like domestic OEM's, but come on - the Explorer was the best selling SUV for how many years? Had extremely high levels of repeat buyers and it was not well built and reliable? Get real! BTW, I have never understood the whole SUV thing, but have always had vans as they made a whole lot more sense - more room for passengers and cargo and still able to tow my boat and other toys while getting better fuel economy. I am totally bummed that I can't get a new Astro or Safari any more as they were 'right sized'. Of course, you will trash them too, right?

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Nov 19, 2008

    The Explorer sold too cheaply. The Trailblazer a bit less so. The Pathfinder is a freak of nature. If it weren't for the opportunity to roll back the odometer it would've been luck to sell for half it's price. A 10 year old domestic midsized SUV will typically go for $1000 to $1500 if it's not heavy on the options and has normal miles. Better ones of course will go for $2000 and up and yes, there has been some upswing in this segment since the summer. In fact these are starting to hit the sweet spot of finance fodder again. Although some places are now tracking higher end vehicles for this purpose and requiring only $500 to $700 down. The Explorer was a perfect example of that type of inventory. Some folks will actually remove the equipment and take it out of the state/country where it will never be seen again. Most don't but you would be surprised how sophisticated some of the better managed buy-here pay-here lots are becoming as are the criminals who target them. The days of Old Tex selling the beat up jalopy to the folks down the street are well on the decline.

  • Jaje Jaje on Nov 19, 2008

    Just some facts - the Explorer used to sell 50k a month and was the runaway best selling SUV in history. B/c of such it flooded the market. Reason behind the Explorer was cheap and affordable and frankly Ford did a much better job marketing it (the Mariner and Navajo were just rebadges). Unfortunately b/c of its success and people want to sell their gas guzzlers it hit Explorers especially hard as there were many more on the market. It also did not help that they tended to roll over pretty easy (or Ford put the absolute worst and cheapest tires made on them) or catch on fire while parked in your garage. The Explorer Sport was renowned for its instability with its shorter wheelbase. Those factors didn't help as it severely hurt the Explorers reputation just when Ford finally did put their best effort forth it was too late.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Nov 19, 2008

    During most of the years of it's production, The Explorer has been the best 'value' midsized SUV in North America. I've seen a multitude of them go beyond 200k and in fact, a late 1990's to early 2000's Explorer or Mountaineer with 100k would be my own personal choice for an SUV if I were ever in the market for one. I can break it down this way. GM has the best trucks on average (although Ford is an equal or better in some respects). Ford makes the best SUV's (although the Suburban is better than the Expedition and the Wrangler is an island unto itself.) Late 1990's Grand Cherokees are also great values if you get them loaded up and if you know that the prior owner took care of them. Chrysler has the best 'value' in minivans. The Odysseys have historically had very serious transmission issues and the Sienna has a multitude of niggling faults that outweigh it's more refined powertrain. The only issues I see with the Chrysler models have been head gaskets on the 2.4L engines and those aren't frequent. Overall I prefer minivans if carrying more than five people (or lots of cargo) is important and you don't need to tow. Most folks who buy the first two would either be better off with a minivan or a compact to midsized car that can have a small trailer hitched up to it. Then again, if everyone was truly practical they would drive some version of an early 1990's Volvo 940 wagon.