By on October 12, 2012

Travis writes:

This might seem a little frivolous, but this is a genuine dilemma that I’m currently facing right now. I’ve been looking to replace a 2006 Pontiac GTO that I’ve had for 4 years. It’s been fun, comfortable, and mildly expensive to maintain in the last year with random small but non-typical GM parts-bin stuff falling apart. I got into an accident a few days ago which pushed around the engine enough to declare the car a total loss. Lucky me me for being safe, also lucky me for not having to sell my car while also getting partial refunds on the $2700 that’s been dropped into it in the past 3 months.

I was planning on replacing it with a low mileage 2011 Mustang GT with the Brembo package. A smallish loan would cover the distance between the two cars pricewise, and I’d have a fun newer car that fulfilled everything the old one did while still being under bumper to bumper warranty.

Insurance is giving me more than I had expected and I have the option to buy back the GTO and sell it to a salvage yard if the price difference is worth the hassle. With the extra cash, the reimbursement of repairs, and possible profit on the vehicle itself, with that same loan I’d be taking out, I could afford a new 2013 GT with the Brembos and have at least a grand or two left over. Being able to comfortably afford a nice new vehicle is not something I’ve ever really had the option of in my life. My family is big on hand-me-downs, and when I got the GTO I took it over the option of getting something reasonable like a new Honda Fit. In 3 or 4 years, I’ll be inheriting a 2011 Corvette Grand Sport from the father. I know these are first world problems, and I can just imagine the jokes already but I’m seriously at a bit of a loss. The practical side of me is saying get a 2011 and don’t take out a real loan, find cash elsewhere to make up the small difference. The fun side of me is saying spoil yourself with something new that you can afford and don’t worry about anything falling off and eating your wallet for years to come. The super-sensible side of me is saying get a slightly used Malibu LTZ with a 2.4, pocket a load of cash, don’t take out a loan, and don’t enjoy driving for 3 or 4 years until you get a free corvette. What say you two?

Also, the Corvette is an automatic.

Steve answers:

Two recommendations for you.

The first is to do a little research. In the salvage auction business, there are two companies that are the 800 pound gorillas. Copart and Insurance Auto Auctions.

I would go to their web sites, call up the local branches, and see if you can get a good general idea of the vehicle’s worth. Then I would arrange the vehicle sold at one of their auctions. That way you have a large group of salvage yards, rebuilders and exporters bidding on the vehicle instead of just one.

The second is to wait for the Corvette. I would find a vehicle that satisfies your fun-o-meter while giving you a bit more practicality for whatever future needs, unexpected or otherwise, may arise. A three old sport/luxury vehicle with low miles that still comes with a healthy CPO warranty would be a pretty strong consideration.

The brands and models are endless. Audi, Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes, Volvo. You may even like a Lincoln or a Saab. I would shop around a bit and find yourself a ride worth keeping for at least the next three to five years.

Sajeev answers:

I’d buy what you want now, and immediately sell Dad’s slushbox Corvette when you get it…especially if it doesn’t have Magnaride.

Or buy some beater for 3-4 years, get Dad’s Vette and sell ’em both for a Z06/ZR1 with Magnaride. But that’s just me.

Sure, these are total #firstworldproblems. No biggie: we do this all the time.  When it comes to money and non-appliance issues, you really need to decide what you want to drive.  Mustangs are great all-around machine on the street, but a Corvette is better elsewhere.  It’s time to buckle down and decide what sporting machine you’d actually want to part with your money for.  That’s a decision for you.

That said, off to you Best and Brightest!



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26 Comments on “New or Used: First World Problems!...”

  • avatar

    I’m with Sajeev on this. That means buying something that tickles your fancy and also has excellent re-sale value. For me, buying a car for re-sale is like buying a horse based on where you can bury it. In this case it pays to delay gratification. Sorry about the autotragic Vette.

    And I can endorse the Z06 from my limited time in it. At idle, it rocks like the car is built around the crankshaft and the cam is too big, but it putters along in top gear at 40mph without missing a beat. Big block + civility? Crazy good.

  • avatar

    How about a 2012 Impala with 300 hp. It’s a damn good car for around $15k with low miles used.

    Since you mention the Malibu LTZ option.

  • avatar

    Do you commute? Might you have kids? Might you in the 3-4 years when the Vette arrives? Does it snow where you live? There are loads and loads of possibilities here and not nearly enough information. In the general sense, if your plan is to keep the Corvette, then I would find something that compliments it, since nobody should want a Corvette as their only vehicle. In other words, get a car good at things the Corvette is not, whether carrying people, carrying stuff, navigating snow or just getting tolerable gas mileage. A Mustang GT is not really that car. A Focus ST or GTI might be.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    If you liked the GTO and aren’t hung up on the door count, pick up one of those “detective special” Caprices that pop up on ebay every so often.

  • avatar

    Was the GTO an auto? Do you want an auto vette? If the answer is no to both of these, then that makes things a little less complicated.

    Personally I’d love a 2013 GT with a manual, track pack and recaros but when I do the (depreciation + consumables)/(planned years of ownership) math it doesn’t quite make sense. It might for you. 4 years is a long time to not be driving the car you want.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of fun, more practical cars to be had for that kind of cash…

  • avatar

    It’s never a good financial decision to buy the car you want. Who cares? If taking out the loan on the ‘stang won’t prevent you from feeding yourself,, do it. The 2013 is a big enough difference that you’ll be sad every time you see one on the street.

    • 0 avatar

      ^ THIS. I have bought many cars in my day, and the ones I truly love/loved weren’t great financial decisions. I just picked up a 94 Taurus SHO 5-Speed Manual for $1,800, and I’ll be damned if I haven’t put $700 into it already.

      Cars are expensive hobbies, you gotta pay to play.

      • 0 avatar

        Is there some other, less-romantic 1994 car for under two grand that wouldn’t have needed $700 in brakes, belts, and hoses?

      • 0 avatar

        @facelvega, “less-romantic” what’s the point of buying a 1994 model car in 2012 unless it has some sort of attraction? You could buy my friends 1994 Corolla with 235,000 miles on it but you’ll still likely stick money in it and it wouldn’t nearly be as fun.

        Sadly an 8 year old car is going to need a little tender loving care no matter who made it.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey PrincipalDan– nah that’s my point, a few hundred bucks to fix up an old SHO when you buy it is hardly a bad financial decision– Spartan’s $700 in immediate expenses would come up for any car that old, even a Corolla. With the total up to $2500, that’s still less than a nav and leather option package on most new cars.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s an even worse financial decision to buy a car you don’t want.

      Having just bought a 2013 Mustang GT, I can tell you the car is totally practical unless you regularly carry backseat passengers over 5 feet tall. And it is stupid fun every second you drive it, even when putt-putting around town.

  • avatar

    Many of us have faced the same automotive decision, more than once. Whats pratical, vs, what you want. Speaking as I guy in his late fifties, I’m going to tell you…go with want you want.

    If you can swing the Stang, do it.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I’m kinda with “slance66” there’s some missing pieces of info here, which add up to: Is this car going to be your daily driver, or just a weekend, sunny skies toy? And how many miles are you planning to put on it every year?
    The GTO was probably o.k. as a DD, a little thirsty perhaps, but it carries you and 3 other people pretty well. If the replacement is going to be your DD, it should not drink fuel as though you have oil wells in your back yard, should be competent in all weather conditions where you drive and should carry more than you and your best buddy. The Mustang fails at least one of those tests, unless your second best buddy is canine or under the age of 10. (If you get snow in the winter, it fails both.)

    I have a 2-seater as a second car, and even then, I sometimes miss not being able to carry more than one passenger.

    So, I’d recommend some sort of sedan if this is going to be your DD. There are plenty of sedans that are a fun drive, and some of them even come with manuals, if that’s your preference.

    You’ll be inheriting a “toy” from your dad in a few years. Then you can decide whether to keep it, or get another “toy.”

    If this car is not going to be your DD, then get what you want. But, understand, since you’re not going to rack up lotsa miles on it, there’s no reason not to save some $$$ and buy a 1 or 2 year old car (e.g. the Mustang) if you can find one that meets your specs and is still under warranty, which is more or less what I did with my 2-seater: it was a 2-year old CPO car when I bought it. It’s now 11 years old and has 67,000 miles on it, so you can see I don’t drive it a lot.

  • avatar

    You should feelk right at home in a Pontiac G8. But the GT sure is fast.

    • 0 avatar

      For sure, and I really did enjoy the GTO very much. The G8 improves on many aspects that I wasn’t a fan of. However, I got a really good taste of just how much of a headache the smaller things can be on those cars. Thanks, but no thanks, especially to those cars which are just about to fall out of warranty.

  • avatar

    Hey guys, little bit of an update.

    On the salvage front, I called around to several salvage yards and they were all offering roughly the same amount it would be for me to keep the car.

    I live in Houston and get to go out to MSRH a few weekends a year, so the cars I own will sometimes see a track. I found a very reasonable 2013 Mustang GT with the Track Pack, upgraded Shaker, and Recaros.

    The Other Baruth is very right in what he said about the looks of the 2013. I really like the 2010 redesign, but I love the 2013 facelift. And, realistically, with 18,000 down payment from the GTO, taking out a small loan isn’t going to hurt the wallet in any measurable form. I’m really looking forward to it!

    • 0 avatar

      I’m glad you came to your senses! That stuff about the Malibu was scaring me.

      Another option would have been to buy something that is both fun and cheap to tide you over until you can raise funds by selling the automatic Vette.

  • avatar

    I hate he had to put an semi apology at the beginning for asking a genuine question. A lot of people have first world problems when it comes to a car, trust and believe, so nothing is really all that frivolous.

  • avatar

    I have to agree and say “get what you want”, with my one purely practical car (Toyota Tercel) I couldn’t justify keeping it nor maintaining it.

    Now I have a Volvo 240, something that I’ve always wanted and just so happens to be fairly practical.

  • avatar

    Hold on, your insurance company is giving you 18 grand for the total loss? For an 06 GTO??? And you are getting reimbursed for repairs done to the car previous to the accident? AND you will be getting a 2011 hand-me-down Vette? Have you got a horseshoe stuck where the sun don’t shine?

  • avatar

    Get what you want, want what you get.

  • avatar

    Good choice on the 2013 GT, I was going to recommend going for the new one, as the used ones do not seem to be much of a bargain, and missing out on the Track Pack and the Recaros was a deal breaker for me. I want one exactly as you spec’ed out, just cant decide on the color. What color did you get??

    Tough decision on the Vette, as I completely love the Grand Sport but I do not love the auto. If my dad was giving me one though, I would keep it, because that is my wife’s dream car and I would love for it to be hers and I would have the Mustang already! But I don’t know if your wife would want a Corvette, or if it would be practical for you to keep 2 sports/muscle cars.

    Yes, first world problems my friend, you are lucky to have them!

    • 0 avatar

      No wife. No kids. Long term girlfriend bought a 2011 Fit and just paid it off. I doubt she would enjoy a Corvette for herself. She’s more of a G37 type of girl.

      I also really lucked out on the car I found. It’s used – 64 miles on it. Original owner traded it in on a new SRT8 Challenger. With Shaker, Recaros, and Track Pack, I paid 33k after Tax, Title, and shipping to my door. It should be here in a little over a week. It was a little more than I was looked to spend, but I’m getting a lot more than I was expecting to get. I’m really excited!

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