Adventures In Used Car Sales, Recession Edition: Get In Here!

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Way back in 2008, I created the Nice Price or Crack Pipe? series for Jalopnik, kicking things off with— of course— a $12,500 Chrysler TC By Maserati. NCOCP was a way for me to do something with car ads that didn’t quite work for my Project Car Hell series, and it has remained a Jalopnik readership favorite since I passed the NPOCP torch to the very capable hands of Graverobber aka Robert Emslie. These days, however, I sometimes see cars for sale that make me wonder… hubba rocks required or real-world price? While in Wisconsin last week, I saw this fairly solid ’91 Lebaron convertible in a laundromat parking lot with this very compelling self-service invitation. How much?

Hmmm… $3,250? The Kelley Blue Book website says a private-party-seller 108,000-mile LeBaron convertible with six-cylinder engine in good condition should be worth $1,650 in Wisconsin.

It hasn’t been driven in winter since 2001, but it appears to suffer from multiple electrical problems, oil leaks, and other stuff I can’t quite make out. I’m sure these things are quite rare in the rusty Upper Midwest, so perhaps that buyer who’s been jonesing for a clean LeBaron convertible will come along and get in there.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Jerseydevil Jerseydevil on Aug 25, 2011

    I really like the crack pipe series! I still play. Thanks for thinkin about it and I hope you are rich as a result. Incidentally, I'm lookin at a Volvo 850 with 150,000 miles for 1100 bucks. I'm investigating now. Anyone know anything about these cars? I chose it b/c my mechanic as really faminliar with them. I intend to take it to them before i buy it of course!

  • Hobie-wan Hobie-wan on Aug 28, 2011

    $750 stereo per the note on the paper? Even if you allow for part of that being the speakers and installation, if that is remotely true I hope the car with its razor blade friendly top isn't being left unsupervised outside the shop at night.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.