Hammer Time: Feeling Blandy

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time feeling blandy

Sometimes there is no point in buying new.

Case in point? Well consider the folks who are the anti-enthusiasts. The ones who look at cars as rolling spreadsheets where the owner simply needs to divine the biggest bang for the buck.

These days I’m getting a lot of action with the blandific cars of not too long ago. Luminas, Regals, Centurys, Tauruses… and pretty much anything that is at least 10 years old and at one time used by the automakers as a rental car special.

Today I sold this creature. A 2001 Buick Century with 93k miles. 3.1 Liter V6. Pretty based as a whole. But at least it seats six, was garage kept, and comes with an advanced set of cupholders.

I bought it for $2000 and sold it for $3000 to a nice old lady who is looking at parking her equally milquetoast 1996 Buick LeSabre with a corroded vinyl top.

In turn, I had this vehicle come in.

A 2001 Ford Taurus in ubiquitous silver that almost always comes with the hammer/sickle Vulcan V6 and the haltingly durable AX4N transmission. I have $985 in it, 95,000 miles, and a pristine leather interior to boot. By the way, the picture above is pretty much an exact match for the one that’s on the transporter at the moment.

Did I mention that used cars get cheaper from August through early November? No tax holidays. No major spending seasons here in the South. Everyone’s on vacation, and the end of year bonus is several months away. These days most folks get little more than a turkey anyhow.

The one lick on it right now is that it won’t start. That’s not uncommon at some of the dealer auctions that attract older metal. On the positive side, the compression is good, the leather is free of rips, and most of my older customers like having that extra touch of luxury for their humdrum commutes.

Judging by the history, it looks like another one of those cars that ends up sitting for a couple of years because it failed emissions and the driver already bought something else. In otherwords the ‘extra car’ that nobody wants and nobody cares about.

Except my customers…

I’m gonna spend $50 to have it towed to my mechanic. If he fails to figure it out, I’m going to bite the bullet and send it to the Ford dealer down the road. It’s a gamble. But in this business, everything you invest in is little more than a crap shoot of prior knowledge and future probability.

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  • 200k-min 200k-min on Aug 16, 2012

    I thought the people that looked at cars as "rolling spreadsheets" were more keen to buy 10+ year old Toyotas & Hondas with close to 200,000 miles on them. I'd rather keep my '99 Accord with 190,000 miles vs. having an '01 Buick with half the miles. Turn of the century really wasn't a good time for the domestics.

  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Aug 16, 2012

    Before I had appliances I had murderous old rusty VWs, I think I'll take the appliances thank you very much! Actually, I'm curious to know why plain 90's sedans are a bit popular, they aren't all that terrific. I've driven one of those Tauruses before and found it to be cramped.

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