Super Piston Slap: Of Panther Love, and a Fox Love Supreme

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

C.K. writes:

Dear Sajeev Mehta-

First the buttering up – have enjoyed your columns for quite sometime and glad to see a fellow Houstonian have success in the auto journalistic field. Writing you for some vehicle advice and to tell you my own quirky story. And sorry in advance, the email got kind of long. No worries if you want to skim!

Little background – I’m 29 and born and reared in Houston. Graduated from UH in 2005 and been a stew for Continental, now United, since 2006. Own 2 cars and garage a 3rd. I own a 2005 Chrysler Sebring TSi I bought brand new and paid cash for in 2006 and own a 1981 Ford Granada L 2 door with 21,000 first time around miles that I have owned in since 2009. I garage my families 1984 El Camino that has been with us since new and has 58,000 miles. I’m a car nut and a judge for the Keels and Wheels Concours d’elegance.

The dilemma – I am ready for a new car. Not just any new car (wouldn’t be writing you if it was!), but the very last fully loaded 2011 Lincoln Town Car still sitting on the lot. I have had Panther love before the term was ever concocted from all the rides in my Grandmother’s past Vics’ and Marquis’. My dream car has always been the Town Car because of it’s body on frame solidity and it’s modern classic status, but peer pressure always kept me from taking the leap. Even now it has been WW3 with my mother because of her hate of big old fogie cars. Her term! She literally thinks it is disgusting that I would want that car, in white no less. She hates white cars with a passion (I think because her evil stepmother only rode white brooms, i mean white cars!). She on the other hand has a merlot 2004 Thunderbird with less than 2000 miles on it and a candy apple red 2006 Jeep Liberty Limited with 35,000 miles. We just don’t drive a lot I guess!

Now, my Sebring only has 58,000 miles and in nearly new condition. It is my airport car and is mainly highway driven to and from Friendswood to IAH. It is 7 years old, with new tires, is fully loaded and a rare one year only color, Midnight Blue. The TSi was a 2 year only factory limited edition. It is fun, reasonably quick, classy yet sporty car. But, I worry that any day something is going to go wrong. I might just be an automotive hypochondriac! Owning Chryslers kind of makes you that way! I still love the car, but the money from the sale of it and the Granada would go towards the Town Car. Only thing off about the Sebring is the the electroluminescent gauges, exclusive to this model and a Chrysler hallmark, sometimes blackout. All the other lights are fine on the dash, just the gauges.

The Town Car came about one night when I decided to build my own on their website and do a dealer search for that exact car (something every car nut has done a million times just to dream). That is how I found my Sebring. Sure enough, the only TC left in the country with every option and my colors, Vibrant White over Black, is in Pascagoula. I was going to buy it in May, but my mother threatened to jump off the roof. I should have let her, she would have landed in the pool! Now, it has apparently survived Isaac, at least I called today and they said their dealership had no flooding. The sticker is $50980 but they offered it to me for $40980. It still comes with complimentary maintenance and full warranty. And I have bargained till blue in the face, that’s their price. I could have solved all this by buying a CPO Marauder or a 25thh Anniversary TC back in 2006 instead of the TSi.

This is where I hope you come in! What should I do? Kill my mother?! Just kidding. I value my parents opinions and we are close friends, thats why I didn’t buy the car already. I live on my own in a house I remodeled in Friendswood. I have 8 house payments to go. Have zero debt and have always lived in my means. No student loans, no credit card debt, no car payments, only what I spend and my house note. Buying the car will put me in debt, but I wouldn’t do it if I couldn’t afford it. It has been my dream car since I was a kid. And yeah, I know the last model isn’t what it use to be, but it is also the last, end of an era for the truly traditional American land yacht, never to be done again. I simply want it for all it stands for and for all that it use to be. I still remember a time when you were somebody if you owned the top of the line Chrysler, Cadillac, Lincoln. It said that you still believed in the American dream, even if you were 90 years old!

I want to sell my Granada as well so I can garage the TC. It has been a great car, with ice cold a/c and mini big boxy looks, and everyone loves it. But again, the sale of it gets me into the TC.

What would be the best way to sell the Granada and Sebring? Would like to get $7k for the Sebring and $4k for the Granada. Am I a fool for wanting to sell 2 perfectly good cars that only cost me gas and insurance? Am I fool for still wanting the TC even though Isaac just came down over that area? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I really am just an old fashioned guy who doesn’t follow most trends. No Facebook, still have a tube tv, don’t even have a camera phone!

I think it would also be kind of neat to quite possibly be the youngest person to ever buy a new Town Car. Heck, youngest person in decades to buy a Lincoln!

Hope you are having a great weekend!



Sajeev Answers:

Thank you for the letter, it’s nice to meet you. And thanks for the kudos, even though I don’t feel nearly as successful as other Houston “social media-blogger influencers” with access to the Media fleets. There’s no hate there, just a little bit of self-deprecation and a bruised ego.

Well then! Two things, as a Fox body collector and inventor of the hashtag:

1. The Granada probably needs new door striker bushings if the doors make that noise. They only come with new door strikers, but that’s not a big deal. I suspect you no longer have bushings on your strikers. Been there, done that many, many times.

2. Would you be interested in a trade for your Granada for a 2004 Marauder, silver, with a 2003 Cobra supercharger set up? There’s one in the Mehta garage, and my brother is willing to take a partial trade for the delicious Chocolate Granada.

C.K. Answers:

Hey man, thanks for the reply. Down in Guatemala right now. Yeah, the Granada does need striker bushings. They were gone before I got the car. The doors don’t make a whole lot of noise, mainly over bumps. Thanks for the Marauder swap offer, but looking to get out of older cars for a while. I’m not a speed demon, so a supercharged Merc would be over kill for me. I’m sure it is a fun car though.

Sajeev Answers:

Well fine, I didn’t want your delicious-chocolately Granada anyway! It’s not like I’m a crazy Foxbody hashtag creating fool who can’t stand not getting press cars!

Oh wait…yes I am. Self-awareness has to be worth something, since I am one of the founding members of the Brown Car Appreciation Society: a Facebook group that’s now getting far too much attention for my conservative, brown-ish tastes. I liked it better when there were 10 of us.

No matter, you are on the right track. And kudos on finding a Continental Edition Town Car! The Chrysler should be sold for Private Party value (see KBB or Edmunds) via Craigslist, I doubt it is worth enough on trade in when you get the Town Car (relative to what you’d get on Private Party sale). It sounds like you could swing having three cars at one time, hence my confidence in my assessment. And maybe you can keep the Granada for a while, as it’s probably a hard sell in this economy. I’ve seen more appealing Foxes (Aero-Thunderbirds) go for that money, even with 10-20k more on the odometer.

Assuming a two car garage: clean it out and put both the Town Car and the Granada in there. If not, leave the Granada in the garage until the right buyer shows up. The Town Car’s been sitting outside for months, a few more months in your driveway won’t matter one bit.

Best of luck and don’t let me drool over the Granada if/when I ever see it.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Jollyjerry Jollyjerry on Sep 11, 2012

    TEXN3 congrats on paying off the house! It's a major financial milestone I'm hoping to reach before 30 ( knock on wood ) I've only been in the backseat of the current Town Car, but I find it appealing for the same reasons you do. I even asked the B&B for advice about a comfortable cruiser a few years back. It doesn't have the same history and heritage, but the new Cadillac XTS has the same goals as the old panther. Namely, to cocoon the passengers in plushy isolation. It starts at 45k, which is a chunk or change more than the TC, but you also get a considerably more contemporary interior, better fuel economy, and probably a better and more hushed ride. Whatever you choose, I'm sure I'll be very jealous. -- @rockyroadblog

  • Spartan Spartan on Sep 28, 2012

    Buy the Town Car. Meanwhile, a fool and his money...

  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.
  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.