Question Of The Day: What Was Your Best Automotive Deal…. Ever?

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
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question of the day what was your best automotive deal ever

The bidding kept going down and down at the inop auction. A sale where all cars are usually either dead or dying.

“$200! would-a-give-me $200! $100! $100! How about-a-hundred!”

Pretty soon the bidding went all the way down to $50. For a whole car! No takers. No sale. Until…

I was a member of the auction staff at this public sale. Unlike other junk public auctions which usually offer cleaned up basket cases from the impound lots, this one specifically sold dealer trade-in’s.

The vehicle in question was a 1993 Subaru Impreza. Four speed automatic. 165k. Primer. The vehicle didn’t even have a lick of paint on the outside.

But it looked clean. Too clean to be used as crusher fodder at an auto recycler.

“Rick? Do you think the Chevy dealer would take $25 for that thing?”

It just so happened the owner of that dealership had a twin brother who also happened to hear me ask about the car.

“You want that junker Steve? It’s yours! Enjoy your new tinker toy!”

So for $25, plus a $50 fee, I had my own Subaru paperweight. That was until I replaced the battery and the shiftlock overdrive mechanism. It ran like a top. Two weeks later I bought a 1988 Toyota Mr2 at the same sale with about 110k for $225 that only needed a fuel pump.

Two cars for less than $500 altogether.

Eventually I sold both vehicles on Ebay for $1576 and $2712 respectively. A rally coordinator for Subaru flew in from California and kept the Impreza for another 50k miles before turning it into a race car. The MR2 went to a super nice guy in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where thin framed older cars have limited lives.

I’ve made more money with plenty of other cars over the years. But these two have always been close to my heart. What about you? What was your best deal? Feel free to throw in a parts story or two if you like.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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2 of 79 comments
  • Hoser Hoser on Nov 21, 2012

    1983 T-bird Turbocoupe I bought from the city abandoned vehicle auction for $120 in 2005. Required replacement wheels and tires right away(TRXs and completely bald), and cat/muffler a couple years ago. It puked the heater core this year; I'm not looking forward to that job. It's bypassed and the car is still on the road until the weather turns colder.

  • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on Nov 21, 2012

    One of my classmates got a 626 Mazda coupe turbo for free, with even a full year of rego. He had to fix an easy overheating problem and regas the A/C. My first Isuzu Impulse was kind of a deal, but I had to assemble quite a bit (and bring parts from the US and Canada) to get it running again.

  • Kyl65759578 👋
  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.