By on April 23, 2009

Just for bowel movements and mirth (PC version), I like to visit eBay’s “No Reserve” section. Where is it? Well, there actually isn’t one, but if you type in a given car or model year and then type “No Reserve,” “NR” or “N/R,” you can actually find some very interesting deals. Clicking on Completed Items will show you the market. The many (Police Interceptors), the few (Oldsmobiles), or the one (Grand Marquis). The ones with the green Sold marks and multiple bids are the ones worth a look and, of course, the deals are all over the map. But a lot of the offerings inevitably hit right around the Average Manheim Market Value. Take for instance this 2009 Lincoln Town Car with 3400 miles.

Town Cars are still pretty popular amongst the livery trade and those older folks seeking a travel car. Not my cup of tea but nothing wrong with that. The one just mentioned sold for $26,600. The average retail value? $26,500. When I looked at 2008 Town Cars, I found only one sold on the Completed Items section with 27,000 miles. The price. $19,700 + $299 bogus fee, so around $20K altogether. On the MMR side, the number of sold vehicles for 2009 was 18. 2008? Over 600. Believe it or not Town Cars are still quite common at the sales.

From there the no reserve offerings on eBay drop off the proverbial cliff with none sold until you get to a 2000 Lincoln Town Car with a dent on the roof and 115,000 miles. Supposedly owned by an older fellow (which can always be confirmed). That sold for $3,050 and if the information in the listing is correct, you can probably take care of said dent and scratch for around $300. Once again. It appears that in terms of bang for the buck, the seven to nine year old vehicle is the way to go. Especially if it’s an older person’s car.

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35 Comments on “Hammer Time: Old Fart Heaven...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’ll agree.

    These are not my cup of tea, and I’d never, ever own one (I like my cars short and dorky, thanks) but if they suit your needs and wants these are pretty decent cars with a good number of amenities, all for a screamingly low price.

  • avatar

    Lincolns are like the American “S-class”

    You really can put 175,000 miles on one before having major problems if you keep up maintenence.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    Except for the trick Air Suspension that costs a fortune to fix when it breaks, I’ve always wanted a TC for a Second Car. Nothing better on the Highway, carry 4 six foot people in comfort and a big trunk.

  • avatar
    Colinpolyps

    I just love prowling the lots in Florida looking for Grampamobiles. One of these years I am gonna bring me home one of those lunkers.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    You really can put 175,000 miles on one before having major problems if you keep up maintenence.

    The problem is that minor maintenance. “Normal” drivers don’t care that the engine will outlast the sun if the power windows keep breaking.

    The Town Car isn’t truly terrible in this respect, but the secondary controls, mechanicals and electronics aren’t as reliable as the same in Lincoln’s own MKZ. It’s still a decent enough car, but if I was hell-bent on a Lincoln, I’d still look for an MKZ of the same year.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    One of these days I’m going to sell my 2002 Grand Marquis LSE and get a Town Car – they are so square, they are hip. I’ve had two GM’s in a row with the rear air suspension – never a lick of problems, and I’ve carried 1,200 lbs of dry concrete in the trunk before.

    I do have to warn you about one thing – I was looking for a roof rack to carry kayaks on my Grand Marquis. You would think that since the body style and roof panels have not changed since before Clinton got his Lewinsky, and Ford has sold millions and millions of Crown Vics and Grand Marquis since then, someone would sell said roof rack that did not require drilling holes.

    No dice. We had to get a rack for our old Corolla.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Yessir, the last real American luxobarge. I lovem. You hit it exactly right – the original elderly owner who can afford to buy it new can afford proper upkeep. Low miles, kept in a garage and no kids to tear it up. If you can get into the proper frame of mind, you can drive some awful nice grandpa cars. Put some Sinatra or Basie in the CD player, and maybe put on a hat.
    I’ve been driving these for years. Low miles, older, well maintained. 84 Olds 98 Regency, 89 Cadillac Brougham, 93 Crown Victoria. Comfortable, reliable, with 8 cylinders in the front and drive wheels in the back the way they are supposed to be.
    Looks like the Grand Marq and Town Car are going to be the last 2 standing, so I ought to have no problem finding cars for the next 10-15 years.

  • avatar
    kowsnofskia


    Yessir, the last real American luxobarge. I lovem. You hit it exactly right – the original elderly owner who can afford to buy it new can afford proper upkeep. Low miles, kept in a garage and no kids to tear it up. If you can get into the proper frame of mind, you can drive some awful nice grandpa cars. Put some Sinatra or Basie in the CD player, and maybe put on a hat.
    I’ve been driving these for years. Low miles, older, well maintained. 84 Olds 98 Regency, 89 Cadillac Brougham, 93 Crown Victoria. Comfortable, reliable, with 8 cylinders in the front and drive wheels in the back the way they are supposed to be.
    Looks like the Grand Marq and Town Car are going to be the last 2 standing, so I ought to have no problem finding cars for the next 10-15 years.”

    Haha I agree totally. I currently drive a 96 Grand Marquis I bought four years ago for $4800. At that time, the car only had 40,500 miles on it and drove/looked/felt brand new. It’s been pretty reliable and has a surprising amount of room to haul stuff too.

    The best used car deals out there are usually old folks’ Detroit steel. The cars are generally well-kept with low mileage, and the rock-like depreciation assures cheap prices.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Except for the trick Air Suspension that costs a fortune to fix when it breaks,…

    There is a simple way around this. Since these failures usually be after the original struts are shot anyway, replace them with a aftermarket unit that eliminates the air system. These kits are about 600 bucks for the parts, plus the labor. I personally don’t like rendering systems in my car inoperative, but if the car is old and saving money is a priority, this is the way to go. These conversions are available for many cars. Don’t feel too bad, though. Those who bought Q45a’s with the “active” suspension basically had to scrap their cars when the activity ended up costing thousands to repair…

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    I used to work at law firm in NYC where, if you worked past 8 pm, you got a car ride home. (Ostensibly this was to to mitigate the risk of a late night mugging on the MTA.) Since most NYC law firms expect people to work essentially non-stop, I rode home in a lot of cars. And most of those cars were Town Cars. I was always astounded at how tight those chariots stayed over years of pounding over NYC’s lunar surface-like pavement. An six year old Townie with an indicated 250k on the odo would purr and glide along over huge potholes with nary a squeak or rattle. The windows generally seemed to work and the seats held their (squishy) forms well. The same could not be said of the occasional Caddy DTS, Lexus LS or German luxo-barge that carried me home – they just didn’t seem to hold up to the abuse as well. Heck, FoMoCo has been making Townie’s for eons, so I guess they should have all the bugs worked out by now.

    I agree, the Town Car is not my cup of tea, but I am impressed by their apparent quality. And I’ve often wondered how fun it might be to buy a clean, high mileage one and turn it into a sleeper muscle car. There must be some monster motor and decent suspension components that would mount up, no?

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    And I’ve often wondered how fun it might be to buy a clean, high mileage one and turn it into a sleeper muscle car. There must be some monster motor and decent suspension components that would mount up, no?

    Drop in a Navigator 4V unit. Or a 5.4L from an F150. Or a Whipplecharger on the original 4.6L.

    Tons of ways to go with the Ford Modular V8.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Now that is a real Lincoln. Not some limp-wristed FWD, V6 boring Toyota wannabe.

  • avatar
    86er

    I bought an “old fart car” the June before last, but there’s one problem: now I don’t want to drive anything but the big Detroit iron.

    And neither does my spouse.

    It’s still a decent enough car, but if I was hell-bent on a Lincoln, I’d still look for an MKZ of the same year.

    An MKz (or MKs, for that matter) is not the same car. Those who don’t appreciate the American car in its distilled form wouldn’t understand.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Love me some Town Cars. Way better than I thought they would be. The ones to see are the Signature “L”s with the 4 inch stretch in the back seat. For such a tank, the highway mileage is quite good…26-27 mpg on regular. The major flaw for me is the seats. Front and back, you start to feel like you are sitting in a hole after a few hours. If you buy by the pound, the TC is definitely a best buy.

  • avatar
    Axel

    I loved my loaded 1995 Olds Eighty-Eight that I got for $2000. Sold it 18 months later for $900 after the A/C flaked out. Road trips in that thing were AWESOME (as was the 32 MPG when driven gently over long distances).

    Steering was more of a theoretical exercise, though, or maybe a good instance of the principle of “functional abstraction.”

  • avatar
    shiney2

    I’m always tempted to buy Town Cars, in particular I like the 90-97 body style. You can get them dirt cheap, and they are just an engine swap and sway bar change away from real performance.

    My mom has a 1989 Town Car she bought when it was 3 years old. It now has 285,000 miles on it and has never had anything done to it except maintenance – nothing! I have driven it on highway trips were it turned 22-23mpg cruising at 80 and I’m always surprised how quite and stable it is, the handling decent and the ride sublime. Sadly, it looks pretty bad these days, rust stains run from under the vinyl top when it rains and in the last year the headliner has sagged badly in the back seat. She quit driving a couple of years ago, and it has deteriorated quickly just sitting outside her house.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Drop in a Navigator 4V unit. Or a 5.4L from an F150. Or a Whipplecharger on the original 4.6L.

    Tons of ways to go with the Ford Modular V8.

    There you go, a Town Car with little to no handling as we understand it now and a 600+ hp engine under the hood.

    For real fun, take it to the local dragstrip and watch the guy that you toast getting ribbed unmercifully by his buddies afterwards.

  • avatar
    VJA

    It’s true that there are still screaming deals to be had on this kind of iron that was used to drive granny back and forth to church every Sunday. Here’s two from Auto Trader that averages way less than 10,000 miles a year:
    http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?ct=p&car_id=261130898&dealer_id=64044255&car_year=2003&rdm=1240527043952&num_records=25&model=LINCTC&systime=&make2=&highlightFirstMakeModel=&start_year=2001&engine=&keywordsrep=&keywordsrep=&keywordsfyc=&keywordsfyc=&certified=&body_code=0&fuel=&awsp=false&search_type=both&distance=10&marketZipError=false&search_lang=en&sownerid=100000120&showZipError=n&make=LINC&color=&keywords_display=&page_location=findacar%3A%3Aispsearchform&min_price=&drive=&default_sort=priceDESC&seller_type=b&max_mileage=&style_flag=1&sort_type=priceDESC&address=90046&advanced=&end_year=2010&transmission=&doors=&max_price=&cardist=0&standard=false&rdpage=thumb

    and

    http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?ct=u&car_id=245376772&dealer_id=576950&car_year=2005&rdm=1240527043952&num_records=25&model=LINCTC&systime=&make2=&highlightFirstMakeModel=&start_year=2001&engine=&keywordsrep=&keywordsrep=&keywordsfyc=&keywordsfyc=&certified=&body_code=0&fuel=&awsp=false&search_type=both&distance=10&marketZipError=false&search_lang=en&sownerid=100000120&showZipError=n&make=LINC&color=&keywords_display=&page_location=findacar%3A%3Aispsearchform&min_price=&drive=&default_sort=priceDESC&seller_type=b&max_mileage=&style_flag=1&sort_type=priceDESC&address=90046&advanced=&end_year=2010&transmission=&doors=&max_price=&cardist=4&standard=false

  • avatar
    davey49

    I could go for a Town Car, that would be sweet. Especially these days with 40 plus mile trips to work. I prefer the 1991-1997 styling.

  • avatar
    VJA

    Ebay isn’t the only place right now where the deals are good. I think people are trading down or they can’t afford the gas, I don’t know, but there are some bargains on Town Cars on Autotrader.com, kbb.com, craigslist, and a bunch of others. We found one that’s an ’03 with only 24,000 miles (used to drive a little old lady around town, according to the ad) but it’s in LA and we’re in Oregon and I’m not big on buying cars on spec. Still looking for a deal in this area. Post it here if you’ve got one.

  • avatar

    86er :
    I bought an “old fart car” the June before last, but there’s one problem: now I don’t want to drive anything but the big Detroit iron.

    And neither does my spouse.

    Why? Please explain what you like so much.

  • avatar

    If I were going to have one of these big old American luxobarges, I’d like a Caprice from the ’90s. I hated the style when it first came out, but it grew on me. I think these are one of the few roughly contemporary cars that will show up at Hershey and Carlisle 20 years from now.

    But by today’s standards, the TC is not bad looking.

  • avatar

    Except for the trick Air Suspension that costs a fortune to fix when it breaks,

    Strutmaster sells aftermarket units that replace the airbags with coil springs for a cheaper fix.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    Drop in a Navigator 4V unit. Or a 5.4L from an F150. Or a Whipplecharger on the original 4.6L.

    Tons of ways to go with the Ford Modular V8.

    There you go, a Town Car with little to no handling as we understand it now and a 600+ hp engine under the hood.

    For real fun, take it to the local dragstrip and watch the guy that you toast getting ribbed unmercifully by his buddies afterwards.

    That would be a hoot. It would also be a blast to cruise on the Highway at 80mph, stand on the gas and enjoy the blas up to 140mph. That would be the ultimate Highway car.

    It always mystified me why Ford never did a limited run of TCs with the Navigator/Cobra motors – probably would have sold better than the Marauder.

  • avatar

    There you go, a Town Car with little to no handling as we understand it now and a 600+ hp engine under the hood.

    I’m pretty sure that the go fast chassis parts from the Police Interceptor Crown Vic and the Mercury Marauder (but I repeat myself) will bolt onto the TC since it’s built on the Panther platform.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    I’m pretty sure that the go fast chassis parts from the Police Interceptor Crown Vic and the Mercury Marauder (but I repeat myself) will bolt onto the TC since it’s built on the Panther platform.

    CVPI doesn’t use the Air Suspension. Not sure about the Marauder.

  • avatar
    Dr. No

    Lincoln and Buick should merge into a franchise that specializes in the geriatric market. The model line up could be:
    1. Lil’ Fart
    2. Big Fart
    3. Old Fart Deluxe

    Standard options: Curb feelers. Reading glass windshield. Electric doors.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    A used Town Car is one of the best bang for the buck buys out there, comfort, safety, room, and reliability that are all well above par for nearly 50% off MSRP one year off used, and a depreciation scale that just keeps on diving that steep.

    I have to say I have always wanted a hot rod Town Car as well, it would be the ultimate in sleepers. I have to imagine that the 4.6 from the Mustang would bolt in pretty easily, or performance parts from the Mustang motor might even bolt directly onto the 4.6 in the Town Car. Considering you can get a Mustang GT with the 4.6 up above 400hp pretty easily, and above 500hp if you are willing to go a little further, a truly screaming Town Car could be achieved. The tricky parts I would assume would be the rear end and the transmission, as I don’t think either are built to handly anywhere near the amount of torque a blown 4.6 would produce.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    The tricky parts I would assume would be the rear end and the transmission, as I don’t think either are built to handly anywhere near the amount of torque a blown 4.6 would produce.

    The Rear Axle should be good, the Ford 8.8 is highly regarded (it’s a common upgrade for Jeeps). The Trans is the A4OD so it’s probably going to need major work at some point anyway. Just drive it until it starts to go then include the necessary upgrades when you rebuild.

  • avatar
    TRL

    Not a cheap perhaps, but always my favorite Lincoln would be the Mark 7 LSC. Same built like a brick (not a Mark 8 with the funny engine and quirky electronics) fix with a hammer type construction and I really liked the styling. With a 5.0 under the hood all the Mustang stuff bolts on to really go fast.
    To me a really good looking 2 door TC.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I’ve driven them, they are solid, but the steering is vague and heavy and absolutely no fun, even for an old fartmobile.

    The seats are OK, the DTS has better ones. The rear seats are HUGE tho, that’s the place to be. And forget about parallel parkin the beastie.

    Given the choice between this car and the DTS, I’d take the latter in a New York minute.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The Crown Vic has been relegated to fleet status for 09 so the only choices for these in retail are one model only Ultimate Grand Marquis and the Town Car. These are the only traditional 6 passenger real full sized sedans left on the market with a trunk that can hold more than 2 or 3 golf club bags, have plenty of room to stretch out and can obtain 27-30 MPG on highway runs. That plus you can actually tell them apart from todays dull looking ordinary Asian and German sedans which are all looking more alike with every redux. If this is your cup of tea grab one while you can.

  • avatar
    86er

    Why? Please explain what you like so much.

    @David Holzman: We like the car because it’s really a pleasure to drive, it insulates you from the traffic outside and actually has a calming influence.

    Highway trips are something to look forward to, instead of dread.

    You may also appreciate the more intangible feelings of piloting a barge like that, it’s really like an upgraded version of an old Galaxie with brakes that actually stop the vehicle, for example.

    As far as size goes, I know a lot of people mock this car on this site, and I imagine jumping out of your GTI or Miata into this would feel weird, but I grew up around combines and crew cab 1 tons, this doesn’t faze me.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    @paris-dakar : Nothing better … carry 4 six foot people in … a big trunk.

    There’s a burly guy on my street who keeps odd hours, always wears a crisp black suit and dark glasses, and never talks about work. He says the very same thing.

    =:-O

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