By on November 11, 2015

00 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird in California Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, someone must be hoarding a big stash of Thunderbirds from the mid-1960s through early 1970s, because I’ve been seeing disconcerting quantities of these cars in East Bay self-service wrecking yards going back at least five years (not to mention the 35 Thunderbirds from the 1970 and 1971 model years that I saw at auction before that).

Mostly they’re so rough that I don’t photograph them (though I did shoot this ’65 Landau about a year ago), which suggests that the T-Bird Hoarder is purging hopeless parts cars, one at a time. Here’s another ’65 Thunderbird Landau, seen in Oakland back in September.
17 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird in California Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

As with the previous ’65 Landau, this one has lots of usable pieces but would be prohibitively expensive to restore.

02 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird in California Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Extremely nice restored examples of the ’65 Thunderbird Landau Coupe are going for under $20,000. Getting one like today’s Junkyard Find to pretty decent condition, with a 20-footer body and an interior that doesn’t make your passengers want to don hazmat suits, would be likely to cost five figures. A Mustang or GM A-body or Chrysler B-body has vast aftermarket body and trim parts availability, but not a fourth-gen T-Bird. You’d need to pay top dollar for NOS or restored everything to fix up this car.

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116 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1965 Ford Thunderbird Landau Hardtop Coupe...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    Perhaps one reason it appears many restorable, desirable cars are now in junk yards is because the cost of living has gotten so high in California, and people that do have jobs spend most of their time commuting and stuck at work that they no longer have time and/or resources to restore old cars. I’m sure generational change may have an impact as well.

    I’m 64, near retirement, and do not want the burden of a “labor of love” taking up space, having to insure it, fix it, maintain it, and worry about it as I’m in overdrive simplifying my life to be able to live within my soon-to-be lesser means.

    Having said all that, a part of me would love to be able to afford a tri-five Chevy, a 1970-72 Chevelle or a 1967-69 Camaro!

    But that’s just me. Your circumstances may vary.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Yeah, the baby boomers who would have wanted these cars are getting a too old for big projects.

      There’s a good supply of show-condition Thunderbirds, probably more than the supply of Thunderbird buyers. A lot of those will be flipped in estate sales over the next 20 years. No need to hold junk T Birds like this one.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      All these “nice” cars are in the junkyard because you can find an actual nice one for less than it would cost to fix up this one.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      True, and let’s keep in mind this particular era and model of T-bird may not be all that collectible (correct me if I’m wrong). It makes sense to drop a boatload of money fixing up something that’s going to be worth the investment. I think if this one were a convertible it’d have been saved.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      Please stop verbalizing these sentiments. I am in denial, I admit, but I have just commenced a remodel that I should be sensible enough to decline. Should my inane commentary cease to be, you will know the house won. I should tie this to cars, so the only reason I can afford to AirBnB my basement is because I am cheapskate with my wheels. My current daily I found sitting flat on the ground under a blue tarp, with a slight coating of moss on the north side. It is now a proud car my neighbors who ride in it always say “there is nothing like a V8 American coupe”.

    • 0 avatar
      thattruthguy

      It isn’t a function of leisure time or available money. You can buy a decent T-Bird for the price of the materials it would take to make this car presentable. If you have leisure time, it would be more rewarding to work on a nice car than this turd, unless you really like welding, bumping, and sanding–in which case, you could do them for money on someone else’s car, or on a car of your own with more inherent value when it’s restored.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Looks like it has been sitting for quite a while. But like I always say, 67 T-Bird Sedan or nah!

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/1967_Green_Ford_Thunderbird_Fordor_rear.jpg

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’ll stick with my 95, thanks.

    I’m not sure if Murilee has done a junkyard find on a MN12 Bird or a Mark VIII, but I found a red one with nasty front end damage on Monday that would break Sajeev’s heart.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Lol, you ONLY like 90’s cars matey. You and Matador.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I just think this generation of Thunderbirds are ugly porkers! I do like the 67s though, neat styling until Knudsen glued a beak on.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          That’s better. The Pontiac beak was a poor idea on that car. One of those “We need a model year change for $5!” things.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I definitely would have chosen a Grand Prix over the Thunderbird in 1970. Despite being on a stretched A platform, the GP was longer and had a longer wheelbase!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Boy the Bonneville was a hot mess that year, with beak AND six lights at the front.

            I’d have a Delta 88 coupe. It was looking pretty good.

            http://www.cars-on-line.com/photo/56200/70olds56283-1.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I think styling departments all got on cocaine simultaneously in the late 1960s. Landau bars? DO IT!!! Fuselage bodies? HELL YEAH!!! More, more, MORE!!!!

            Shame, because the mid-60s saw some of the best looking designs ever from Detroit. I’d include the convertible version of this car in that group (particularly the interior styling, which was fantastic).

            My favorite, though, was the ’66-67 Riv. STUNNING car, which Buick steadily pimped up and ruined by 1970.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Mhmm, the corresponding 66-67 Toronado is, IMO, one of the most beautiful GM vehicles ever.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Agreed, and Olds mucked that one up with excessive pimpage too.

            But GM styling redeemed themselves with the boattail Riv, the 70 1/2 Firebird and Camaro, and (believe it or not) the Vega. As bad as that car was, it was a solid piece of styling.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        The 90’s and Naughts are MY favorite time of car design.

        Saw one just like this yesterday and was happy.

        http://cars-specs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Cutlass-Supreme-Coupe.jpeg

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Those are rare here, on account of general falling apart. IIRC most of them had big paint issues. They also always have trim probs! Was always a fan of the light design at the front, and the door handles up high.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I see more of those than the similar vintage 88s and 98s, which is a shame because I rather like the mid 90s 88.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LSS 4WIN!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The power of H compels you.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Rare here too. They arent crazy about it but most Canadian prairie city’s use enough salt to be a problem.

            The Church will be losing a disciple soon, as my dad’s 97 LSS is starting to rot really bad underneath its skin, its starting to blow brake lines and the like due to corrosion.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hasn’t he got a Ninety Eight R.E. as well? It will have to take over the duties of departed LSS.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            He has a 92 98 Touring. TOURING Corey, TOOOUUURIIIING. It only comes out in summer, he wont DD it in the winter. I’m pretty sure a couple of winters would kill it.

            Likely future winter DD will be a company truck, summer will still be split between the 98 and VTX 1300.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Even better! I dare say that’s more rare than the old-people-enjoyment R.E.

            I think… and I could be wrong here – but I think he needs to buy another Olds or Buick of 3800 heritage.

            Praise Be.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Me thinks its time to source a standard 88 and do an LSS swap.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            28… you mean swap the trim and interior bits onto a standard 88?

            Probably not worth it. My dad’s 88 isnt supercharged, it doesnt have the sunroof. It just has the (unheated) leather interior, the nice 5 spokes, badging.

            Its really just the best looking trim of the 88, I think a standard 88 could be cleaned up to look just as good, if one was so inclined.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Dave

            I’d still swap the interior as long as the leather isn’t ripped or beat to hell. But then again, I like to build OldsmoBuiOntiacs.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Unheated leather seats, especially somewhere cold though? I’d stick with cloth. Even heated leather kinda sucks. I prefer cloth, sadly, to get any other decent options these days they stick you with leather.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        90s cars are the best, though!

        1980s vehicles are a little too primitive to me (No offense meant, but EFI > Carb). 2000s vehicles have more fancy stuff that I don’t need.

        The 1990s cars strike a good balance for me- fuel injection, airbags (Most), comfortable to drive, pretty safe (Though not as good here as new cars), can be serviced, and are pretty cheap.

        What more could a simple man like myself want?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Crash ratings were m’eh on most 90s stuff outside of a few like Volvos. I crash my 2002 Saturn on its circa 1990 platform and I’m probably toast. Might be the only thing later models have on 90s stuff outside of ZOMG bhp at incredible rpms.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Your Saturn is made out of the best materials GM could find, that cost less than $14.86.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Well, don’t crash it then!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I got in my sister’s 95 Sedan shortly after she got it, to check it out.

            I didn’t like how pressing with one finger at the center stack would move the ENTIRE thing around, like it was all put on there with some double sided Scotch tape.

            And good god was it loud and buzzy in there. I remember you pulled the little square door releases all the way before they’d click and pop the door open. Always felt like they were about to break!

            Keep in mind at the time I was comparing it to a 93 90S, so perhaps not quite fair. But the used prices weren’t that far apart LOL.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Heres a fun story. My car is in for an oil change, which I do at the dealer because for 75 bucks, I cant really do it cheaper given that my car takes 6L of synthetic, (to which I told them, dont offer multipoint inspections, dont rotate my tires or flush my headlight fluid or change my muffler bearings). Its also in for the free OnStar upgrade to 4G.

            They just called me, and tried to sell me a $165 “emissions service”, which they say it needs at its 50k kms. He told me the throttle body is dirty, and they want to clean the MAF sensor, the throttle plates and whatnot… Because here in the north there is lots of dirt on the roads and that gasoline quality varies across the country.

            SMH. Why cant I find a decent service department???

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You have all of the car problems.

            One time when I took my GS I had just bought into my indie mechanic, I showed them the offer from the website I had printed for an oil change and overall inspection this and that for $60 or something.

            My bill was $38, and I said “Well I wanted this here.” pointing to the paper.

            He said, “Well you don’t need all that, I can charge you for that if you want – but your car is all good!”

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            The service writer told me to my face he left another known bad Calgary GM dealerships because of their upsell policy.

            Hello!?! Are you listening to yourself?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Are you going to bail on GM after your lease is up, and go get better service at Honda or Ford or something?

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Unless I buy a Sierra, yes. Even then, I’ll buy it outright and cut out the dealer immediately. I need to do what my lease requires here, to not have any issues when I go to return it.

            This lease is surely an issue. An experiment gone wrong, but live and learn. As I stated, my lease was originally a just different shaped financing package of a car I intended to buy outright. Thus, I wasnt worried about mileage, etc. So, that may not have been a great idea, but since its been such a turd, I AM glad that I can give it back in 2.4 years, and not have to try and sell a unicorn with a ridiculous service history and dubious long term worth, but in the meantime I am stuck dealing with these monkeys.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Good idea. Surely selling it later someone would see all the records, and notice the lemony smell it has on it. Hopefully they can sort some stuff out so your 2.4 aren’t miserable.

            PS. Gen 1 Sierra Denali still catches my eye today, those were nice lookin, especially in black.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I really like the look of most GM trucks going back over the last 20 years.

            The issue is, this current gen is leaps and bounds ahead even of the decent last gen in terms of ride, cabin comfort, etc. If I buy a truck, Ill use it for work, towing, etc (we will be looking at a decent yard by then), but I still want it to be comfortable, I’ll be DD’ing it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought you had said you drive quite a lot around Canadia – so wouldn’t your wallet benefit from a much more efficient sedan?

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            The long term plan is: a new nice truck and a new nice sedan.

            So, for hauling and one commute, truck. Other commute, social trips/errands and long trips, nice new sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Start plantin’ them money trees then!

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            We’re bustin our butts man. Which is why were just trying to keep the lease in good standing on the Verano, and getting max life and putting the most of our mileage these days on her beater Hyundai, which owes us nothing.

            If we could have right now such an automotive layout, it would look like, 2015 Sierra SLE V6 Crew, and 2012 Fusion Sport AWD.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @matador

            I will try not too.

            @Dave

            Stop going to the dealer for everything.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            28: Car is on warranty. Thankfully, the only thing I have paid for at the dealership to date has been 2 oil changes (which are reasonably priced at this dealer, given the cost of 5L of synthetic, cartridge filter, and time of going over to my brother’s to use the ramps). But, everything I have had to go in for has been warranty/lemon related. Yesterday, it was in for the 4G OnStar hardware, so I had them change the oil at the same time. What would you recommend I do otherwise? I’ve never gone to the dealer just for gits and shiggles.

            I specifically told the guy (who was a junior service writer stuck working Remembrance Day) that I just wanted an oil change. I was pretty livid when he called me with his upsell. Especially because the car had essentially the same service completed on warranty a couple months ago when I complained to them about rough idle around 0 degrees and hesitation. So, he didnt even check my file, just called.

            Also, this is the first time in 19 months that they put an oil change sticker, ignoring the presence of the oil life monitor, and telling me to come back in 5000 kms. So, this guy wants me to come in twice as often as the oil life monitor would have me. The owners manual says go by the monitor. Seems like a cash grab to me.

            I just don’t understand, what it takes to get a good dealer experience. I dont think not going to the dealership with the car on warranty for the duration of the lease, is an option.

            If we buy any kind of new car, the plan will be do things like oil changes, filters, fluid, wear items and such on my own. Just do it in such a way (keep receipts, document work) that the warranty is still good, so that if something IS covered and breaks, we can still take advantage of the free warranty coverage on defects. This would be the idea on this car, just nothing has yet broken that wasn’t a warranty issue, and the car has been in so often I just get them to do the oil changes while they are at it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The dealer is fine for oil changes and so forth. Both GM and Ford have pretty decent deals on scheduled service. Whenever I take my C-Max in, it costs me $29.99-$39.99, based on if I have a coupon. That price includes an oil change, some fluid top off, however many point vehicle inspection, tire rotation, and a car wash. The oil and oil filter would cost me about $25 from AutoZone. Might as well let them do it for the price they charge. The dealership I go to also works on all makes and models so there are often GM and FCA products getting their oil changed there.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “you ONLY like 90’s cars matey. You and Matador.”

        and 28.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          We need to start a support group!

          My name is Matador. I know I shouldn’t be impressed with them, but I love floating land barges. Dynaride makes everything better….

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Same here. Mine is quite reliable. I just changed the belt tensioner since the original one was starting to make some noise. The replacement from Dayco in Ohio is a better design since apparently Ford (Jacque Nasser!) cut corners.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Ford tensioners, pulleys, belts and hoses were supplied by Dayco from sometime in the early 80’s on. So no it wasn’t Jacque the knife’s fault that yours wore out after so long.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I like blaming Jacque though.

          NAAAASSSSSER!!!!!!!!

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          Actually the instructions that were in the Dayco box had a section that outlined the improved quality of the new part compared to the one they used on Ford products from 1992-98.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I didn’t mean to imply that the new part wasn’t improved just that Dayco was the OE supplier for Ford for those parts in that era.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          However Nasser’s cost cutting is felt in the interior furnishings. You can hear the occasional squeak and squawk from the plastic dash and console trim. The door weatherstripping also had to be pushed back into place.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I dunno if you’re talking about your Thunderbird, but on mine the driver’s door panel is practically half-attached and thus the door won’t shut right.

            And the headliner is disintegrating, I keep noticing more and more holes and tears…

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            Yes, I am referring to my 95 T-Bird. I have no problems with the headliner or door panels. However there is the occasional squawk from the upper part of the dash as well as the console. The good folk over at TCCOA recommend taking it apart and putting it back together with 3M double sided tape.

            I also had replaced the odometer gear which wore away with the new and improved version. Apparently on these as well as Mustangs the problems are legion.

  • avatar
    matador

    I ask for the guidance and wisdom of the Church of the 3800 here:

    My current secondary car is a 1995 LeSabre. I paid $700 for it 3 years ago, and have run the mileage past 225k (I’ve put about 40k on it). It’s starting to fall apart, though. It’s getting to the point where I’m spending as much time under it as in it.

    My office will be moving, so we’ll be driving two cars every day (Right now, the two of us ride to work together, since we work only a few blocks from each other). We have a 2001 Audi A6 that will continue doing what it does, so that leaves me.

    I plan on keeping the LeSabre. It’s worthless in retail value, and is a decent enough backup car in a pinch. I do own a pickup truck, but fuel costs will run me broke. I’m lucky to see 10MPG.

    I’m open to recommendations. I’ve really liked the Buick, but I’m open to pretty much anything, as long as it’s not much smaller than a LeSabre. My budget is around $5000, and this move won’t happen until March, so I have plenty of time.

    Thoughts?

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Why not just DD the Lesabre and use the pickup as backup?

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I’ve used it when something’s been broken down. My worries are that it’s starting to fall apart at the seams. The suspension is shot, it stalls at intersections sometimes (From what I understand, that’s a fuel pump issue common to the H-Body), and it’s developing some other “personalities”.

        I’ll keep it, because I own it, and it’s not salable (Plus you should never sell your first car!). But, I don’t think it’s up to driving daily. My commute will be about 80-90 miles round trip, so the miles will rack up.

        • 0 avatar

          If it stalls at intersections, try unplugging the connector for the EGR valve. If it doesn’t stall anymore, then you’ll either need to replace the EGR valve or (if you live in a non-emissions state) just block it off with a steel plate.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            If still stalls a little, but I think that helped a bit. It only stalls once or twice a day- I can live with that. It’s not like it does it at every intersection.

            Thanks for the tip! I’ll take what I can get!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      So under 5K and not much smaller than your LeSabre. You could get a 3800 Regal I guess. Or like, an Avalon? Or a 3.5RL?

      Just with that many miles daily, I would lean more toward Japanese, so it won’t nickel-dime you as the miles rack up.

      I REALLY like that model RL. Stately and understated and large. :) Modern as well. And since you ain’t afraid of high miles.
      https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/5223933894.html

      EDIT: Shopping on a newer GM than what you’ve got will get you into the “lots of sensors and breaking bits” cost-cut era of GM in the early 00’s, so be very careful if you end up going GM route. I wouldn’t recommend the 97+ LeSabre or PA models to anybody on a budget.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The Church is listening… give us a moment.

      Ok real inflation 2005 to now is close to 100%, so that’s about 2500 in the world my mind is stuck in. Then such beater recs would have been something like Cadillac 4.9, Buick/Olds 3800, Ford Vulcan 3.0, Chryco 5.2, Panther 5.0 or 4.6, Chevy SBC etc. Today its a hard knock life.

      My first thought is you’ve done well by the Audi but its on borrowed time, there’s a good chance you’re going to be truck only at any given time (plus trucks are $$$ in every which way these days).

      We learned recently the Acura Legend in all three generations is the great survivor BUT unlike Lexus which will draw bids no matter the condition, the avg decent condition Legend only bids to about $2300. My issue with Legend is in automatic form it has an odd driveline, front wheel drive with a longitudinal mount similar to the Chrysler LH and Olds Toro/Caddy Eldo of old. I do remember those cars having issues with this drive line and Dal informs me the Gen 1 and Gen 2 suffer HG maladies.

      My laptop is about to die, when I get back to my cube I will dwell some more on the quandary.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        @Corey: That RL looks like a really nice car to me. I don’t know much about Acuras, so I never knew that car even existed!

        —————–

        I’m into plush luxury more than anything else. I’m not into sporty vehicles like Pontiacs or Mitsubishis. I’d rather have plush seating and a comfortable ride. Call me geriatric if you’d like. I work primarily in E-Commerce, so image isn’t an issue at all. My customers don’t know if I drive a Plymouth Volare or a Lamborghini. I really don’t care about brand cachet.

        I’ve really liked the Audi. I bought it just shy of 100k miles, and it’s approaching 175k right now. I’ve had the front suspension redone about 15-20k miles ago, and the timing belt around 105k. Other than that, it’s been really nice. But, it has some personalities. They’re fit and finish issues, but the car itself has been reliable. I’m just not convinced that I’d like to take that gamble again.

        When the Audi was getting it’s suspension replaced this summer, I had to use the Dodge (The Buick went in service, but we were going separate directions). At 9MPG, a MY1986 truck with no air conditioning doesn’t really offer any redeeming qualities at all. It did the job, but it was sucking me dry. I bought that truck for farm work, and it does that well. A 4bbl 360 mated to a 4 speed manual isn’t a good commuter.

        I’m in Wyoming, so vehicle prices can are a bit high. It’s ridiculously easy to be a “dealer” in the state, though. That may be an option if the price benefit is there. I’m also open to travelling- I bought the Audi down in Denver.

        Anecdote: I bought the Buick from a man who fixes vehicles and resells them. The state was perfectly fine with him stating that an outhouse was his business office. The annual fee to be a dealer is $25. We’re really business-friendly.

        The Church has all the time needed. I’m the type of guy who spends 4 hours choosing car tires, so time isn’t an issue at all.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          So I had recalled you as being in Montana, but that’s because I know even less about Wyoming.

          http://billings.craigslist.org/cto/5291714148.html

          Price does seem a little high for the miles. But go check you out a big giant soft Accord!

          Is it hard car shopping there, with things being so spread out?

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            This may be a duplicate- the comment system got a little weird here.

            —————-

            That Acura looks like a better deal than most. This is more typical of the area:

            https://www.carsforsale.com/vehicle/details/418414

            That’s with tacky rims, a 1 year only engine option, from a dealer that’s known for pushing their junk through a public auto auction that they run.

            ———

            Wyoming (Noun). A place that’s very beautiful in the Northwestern part of the state, and looks like wasteland in the Southeastern part. Where driving 50 miles to work is pretty common. Fortunately, the Interstate speed limit is 80MPH.

            —————

            Car shopping is very difficult out here. There isn’t much selection, and most sellers assume that their stuff is worth it’s weight in gold, and we don’t really have an honest dealer in our area to keep prices in check. Billings is about 150 miles from us, but that’s not too far by our standards. We go up there on some Saturdays. Most of Wyoming does.

            Selection is pretty small- that’s why I bought the Audi in Denver. Going to Denver isn’t a problem and is pretty likely.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL @ that Riv! That’s absurd. No good RLs on Denver CL, but a late ES300 is also an option.

            https://denver.craigslist.org/cto/5273672686.html

            That one’s very tidy looks like. Also I35 models are in your budget.

            https://cosprings.craigslist.org/ctd/5308261717.html

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That $3500 becomes $2500 at 180K but otherwise maybe ok.

            @matador

            Might be best to search outside of Wyoming/Montana and even Denver. Go bring a winner home.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            This thread has gotten pretty busy, so I don’t know where this comment will exactly appear, but it’s a response to 28.

            —–

            I’m fine with leaving the area. Since you have a lot more data than I do, what’s the best place/area for car shopping? We’re definitely in an inflated area here.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @matador

            I’m not familiar with west of the Mississippi at all. Here in parts of the South vehicles are cheaper and more desirable as PA/OH vehicles tend to be somewhat rotted in ten years or less. I have never bought out of Florida myself but I know many a dealer who has. I would narrow down the model I wanted to look for and then go from there. Off the top of my head given you are in Wyoming I would want to look at vehicle prices in Utah for example to see if prices are the same, higher, or lower. Then compare those to ones found in Florida for example and see what the pricing data looks like. I would imagine on your budget going more than a few states away is not cost effective but its good to look at data from several places.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Thanks for the knowledge!

            I owned a 1997 Ford E350 box van that spent most of it’s life in Pennsylvania. Even out here, rust became terminal and forced me to scrap it.

            Never again! I’ll have to check the South, then. It’s a ways to drive, but I do have relatives in Georgia who are car nuts like me. Having something transported out here isn’t as crazy as half of what I’ve done!

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            If you want a police car keep checking Public Surplus and watching or searching the completed auctions. That way you can get a feel for the prices in various areas. I usually check OR from time to tme and they seem to sell for less than the ones in WA. I Most agencies will give you 10 days to pickup. So once you’re ready to buy you will know which areas to watch until something comes up. If you win then hop on a bus, plane or train to come and get your automobile. Based on the prices you’ve quoted in your area you could save at least $1000 so more than enough to pay for the ticket, fuel and a couple of nights in a motel and maybe a little sightseeing along the way.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Thanks for the tip on Oregon. That’s good to know. I have time, so that helps a lot.

            Sightseeing is a good plan. It’s a better idea than holding a hair dryer out the window while parked on the shoulder! ;)

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            If you do decide to get a retired Crown Vic a couple of things to check based on your area and that is if the car as the traction lock diff or traction control. The VIN will allow you to look up the axle ratio and whether it is a regular or LSD diff. For traction control look on the dash to the left of the steering wheel. Two buttons there means it has power pedals and traction control 1 button is usually power pedals only.

            Also check and see if they have maintenance records available. In WA the state owned vehicles have a link to the maintenance look up. Click the link copy and paste the VIN in and you’ll get all the history down to having the windshield repaired. I’ve even seen one where the sent it out for a $200 detail before putting it up for sale because it was so dirty inside when turned in.

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            I’m surprised the 95 Riviera has the split bench seat with the column shifter. Most came with the console and floor shifter.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m going to preface my response with this, a 90 mile commute for your primary source of income combined with a zero interest rate environment suggests a small down payment on something new with high resale and near zero financing on a 72 mo/schedule. I could calculate expected depreciation on such a purchase based on previous MYs and we could estimate losses in a 2 year period. If those losses are light it might make more sense to take the depreciation and trade every 2 years or so and enjoy the comfort and reliability of something new with a warranty.

          Now that being said here are your options:

          I assume the A6 is used by a girlfriend/wife? If it is not I recommend losing it and pocketing the proceeds. Why? It is better to employ the 2 car primary/secondary beater strategy than the primary/secondary/toy in a 90 miles commute situation because the toy simply becomes a drain on income for repairs/insurance/inspection, income you will need keeping the other two afloat. The other factor is expected longevity, the A6 was probably designed for a 150K lifespan. It *can* be kept going, but at what cost? The only way I keep the A6 in your situation is if it is used as a local runabout in a 5K/year type situation and if it is necessary for another driver. Moving on from this, here is what I am seeing

          Pre-OBD II Mercedes or BMW
          ————————–
          I’m tossing Audi out because C3s can be kept going but they have a similar odd drivetrain configuration to the Legend and you just don’t need this for 500 mi/week. The 90 is very similar to C3, and I don’t remember much about the 80 or 4000 but f those at this point. C4 100/A6 had a litany of problems when it was introduced and although you may have did well by your MY01 I’m running away from Audis in your situation. This leaves Mercedes and BMW. Mercedes of this period are tanks but like all German cars the computer system is a PITA with relays, the I6 is stout but gives poor mileage, and Mercedes branded parts are expensive I am not as up on BMW so various flavors might be a bit better but I am going to wager they have just as much chance of making you car poor as a Mercedes. I witnessed a car poor situation involving an MY88 W124. Might have been better for the DIY but even he would have had to shell out for transmission issues and blown brake lines, let alone all the other stuff which went wrong when it was put in DD duty by a friend’s wife. I will not recommend one but wanted to highlight the opportunity.

          B-Body, Early Panther, Chrysler M-body
          ————————————–
          Basically a car like a pickup, can be made to run with the caveats of poor mileage and more importantly: really old. In your situation, I don’t want my cars to be really old. Parts might be much cheaper than Mercedes/BMW but build quality isn’t there as much and they suffer from the same maladies (rot, holes in exhaust, rotted break/fuel lines, need fuel pumps). I’m not recommending.

          Cadillac 4.5/4.9 or 3800
          ————————

          Same as above, decent for what they are but really old and for the Cadillacs, average miles at best in 2015. Finding an example which is not destroyed is key obviously. As you might expect, 3800 gets a recommendation with 4.5/4.9 having a partial recommendation.

          Newer 4.6 Panther
          —————–

          I don’t have to tell you about Panther Love, but this is one of the situations where this really is a possible solution. I don’t know as much about Panthers as others, but this gets a partial recommendation based on your criteria.

          DN101 Taurus
          ————

          These have weak points but make great beaters. I can’t speak for Montana but avg condition ones here are cheeeeeaaap. If you can find grandma’s with low miles you can run up the miles and still have money left saved to put another transaxle it it when the AXOD explodes. Recommended for 3.0 Vulcan, not sure on the 24v version.

          Camcord
          ——-

          My issue with these other than price is condition. People beat the tar out of these and then want all kinds of money for them. You can look but I don’t think you’re gonna find much.

          Lexus/Acura Camcords
          ——————–

          Lexus ES/RX/LS/GS and Acura TSX are recommended but I think exceed your cost structure. I know here they were advertising MY13 TSX/auto for like 21 or 22K with under 20K miles. Bro was looking at one but then after some research ditched the idea as Hondas sucked in the snow, or so he told me. I’m not sure how the Lexuses drive in deeper snow, the LS400 I had did fine in slush/light snow.

          Volvo RWD 940/740/240
          ———————

          If I was going old ass car for DD in a 90 mile commute, this is really my first choice. Much like its European cousins, the RWD Volvos can be finicky but can be had in stick and have two things the above lack: high build quality/parts content combined with a cheap price. Do not look at an 850, repeat do not look at 850 or anything FWD. Ideally you’d want a base 940 in a 5spd for simplicity, but the turbo in Volvo isn’t as problematic as turbos of today. The 900 series is a revamped 700 series but if a 900 can’t be sourced 740 or 240 have the same effect. The con to these other than age, and the need of psychic powers for troubleshooting, is poor mileage. These are recommended despite any downside.

          Acura Legend/RL
          —————

          We recently discussed Legend here:

          https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/11/junkyard-find-1980-mercury-capri-2/#comment-6705281

          I was not aware, but evidently these things can rack up miles. Unlike say TL, Integra, or TSX, people don’t seem to be aware of these. The average person may not even understand what the model is, especially after the renaming of the Legend to RL in the US market. They will PAY for a TL (assuming they don’t know about ye old glass transmission) but I don’t see avg joe sixpack “paying” for RL. In 2012 before I bought my Volvo, I was looking at toys. A lot here had an RL for $1800 reduced from 3K/120K miles, and I thought hmmmmm what was wrong with those… and remembered the tranny setup was weird. I didn’t look at the gold RL but I thought there is opportunity there. The con other than typical Japanese rust issues is mileage. The RL and I believe Legend use a V6 and in RL form its something like 225hp, but it gets 16/24 mileage. So in my mind Cadillac (think 4.9) fuel economy and power with a V6 and weird transmission? M’eh. But as auction results show, both later generations can do 300K. The thing is though unlike “Legend”, RL came in auto only and has little enthusiast cache. Avg wholesale was $2300 for cleaner examples in my sample set. Unless I’m wrong about the tranny or if you find one with documentation of tranny work, I see RL as an opportunity and give a partial recommendation with the added warning of do your research.

          Final Thoughts
          ————–

          Reconditioning is a very misunderstood cost of the use car world. A car might cost X, but as cars age they require more and more to get them front line ready. Wearbles such as tires, brakes, rubber bits, and control arms. A/C, sensors, emissions issues, and exhaust issues creep up in addition to rust or other body damage. This also assumes the transmission/transaxle is in working order and the motor is not leaking/burning oil and coolant. The auction can be a minefield and seasoned dealers know all too well how unforeseen costs can blow profit margins. Whatever you buy, you must factor in reconditioning costs. I recently bought four Uniroyal tires for my W-body, my cost: $104+tax/tire inc mount which is about 15/more than it was two years ago. NTB wanted 130ish a tire + mount + fee + tax + f you. The first tires I bought for it were in 2011 and I went to NTB and got a polite kiss my ass of about 150/tire, then (I bough two and it was 3 something). Never went back and made new friends in the tire business. Assess the condition of the car you wish to buy, budget for at least two tires and a set of brake pads at minimum. Most of the domestic stuff is cheap, but the RL might use wacky brakes/rotors. My Volvo does not but the 940 might (I doubt it but check). If you have 5K to spend, you really only have 4K to spend… follow me? Bear this in mind when selecting a vehicle.

          Good luck, my son.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @28, since you’re here now:

            What’s your recommended adhesive for trim logos, by the way? I know they came from factory with double sided foam tape, but I think cutting it to fit a wreath would be really difficult with an exacto. So that leaves some kind of either silicone or trim adhesive? GOOP?

            Planning on cleaning up the area with Goo Gone to get rid of sticky stuff, then rubbing alcohol.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            3M makes an emblem glue, you can get it at Advance.

            If you search Ebay you can probably find an unused emblem kit from that period Cadillac… or even upgrade to the GOLD package if you want to spend. I used to have an unused gold kit but I think I sold it in 2002.

            Oh and btw to paraphrase Fat Tony, “You are living my broken dreams.” with that Deville.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yeah, I had noticed the 3M glue, then I went on Amazon and read all the bad things about it – but maybe that’s people who dunno how to use glue or clean a surface properly first. I figured you’d have emblem adhesion experience from your car lives.

            No gold for me, if only because I don’t like how the gold center wheel caps look. I’m pleased with the silver tone ones. They all four match now, since I got rid of the one gold one.

            Been driving it every day since I got it, first day I’ll be back in the M is tomorrow, because I don’t want to drive in heavy traffic to an appointment with soggy brakes like it has now.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Wow! Lots of great advice there.

            To make a long story short, the Audi commutes myself and my mother. We’re a farm family, so everyone stays together. She’ll be retiring at the end of next year. She owned a 2000 Impala that was a complete piece of junk, so we used the Audi as a commuter (After a short stint of using the Buick, which is still an improvement over that Impala). She’s in love with that car, so it’s stuck with us. But, after the end of next year, I’ll be able to move the office again- shortening my commute to 30 miles/day, or about 7500 miles annually. She won’t be commuting, so that’s a lot easier on cars…

            So, I’m left with a one year period of hurt- where both of us will be driving a lot.

            A new car is out of the question- the median salary of our county is about $35k per year. Cost of living is low, so it pencils out. But, a new car throws that way out of whack. I’ve had car payments before, and am not going back there. I am open to putting money into an account that payments are taken from, provided that I have the balance of the loan in there (In effect, paying cash with an interest charge). If the most car that I could afford would be a 1993 Ford Tempo, so be it. I can do better, but I’ll stay within my means. If I make more in a couple of years, then I’ll worry about that….

            Serviceability is key to me. We’re farmers, so I’ve worked on a fair amount of vehicles and equipment. I’ve never done a major procedure, but I’ve done radiators, a transfer case on a Dakota, and a couple of fuel pumps.

            The Taurus is an option that I keep falling back to. Our state has an excellent maintenance program (I’m friends with a man who services vehicles for the state), and they surplus Tauruses a lot:

            http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/wyominggsd,wy/list/past?page=0&sortBy=end&orgid=97940&sorg=&show=past&posting=listPast&masscopy_process=&keyWord=Taurus&startDate=Sep+1%2C+2015&endDate=Nov+11%2C+2015&catId=&refresh=Search

            Value for money, it looks like a good deal, but I don’t know anything about Tauruses. Are they serviceable, reliable, and somewhat comfortable?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            28, fantastic post as normal.

            So after getting quite a bit more information/pictures from the seller I decided to violate my own first rule of car buying and buy a ’95 Legend, sight unseen, from Sandpoint, Idaho (the one Corey and I discussed yesterday after you had finished posting). I’ll get it shipped — the shipping quotes are not bad and worth avoiding that horrible drive (and making someone else do it with me).

            186,000 miles, immaculate (to the point of having clean OEM tan carpet), all service records since 1995, timing belt/water pump done at 145000, no evidence of any cooling system issues in an immaculate engine compartment, one owner for most of its tenure who was so anal he made the second owner park his truck at the bottom of the driveway to avoid any potential oil spots. Price is $2700, high for the miles but much lower than any other Legend I’ve seen in this condition.

            I also drove another one yesterday morning that had deep cosmetic and suspension issues, but was kind of a hoot because the engine and transmission felt absolutely like new after 201,000 miles. These cars really are survivors if the EGR and cooling systems are looked after.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @Dal

            Congrats on your Legend purchase! Let me know how that cup holder turns out. It’s botherin me.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Thanks! Will of course send pics once the car arrives, which is hopefully late next week.

            If the worst thing about the car is a bit of damage to a door panel and weather strip from that cupholder, at this price, I’ve lucked out. Most sub-$3000 Legends have real issues, like the peeling and askew front bumper, badly torn upholstery, and screwed-up wiring of the $1950 car I drove yesterday. (That one is a good 50-footer but totally falls apart up close.)

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            matador, Tauruses with the Vulcan V6 are generally durable and not too expensive to fix. Stuff will go wrong, but most of it is DIYable. I’d choose the Vulcan over the Duratec for your needs. They’re dirt cheap and reasonably comfortable, so it’s a good choice if you need a reliable car to eat a lot of miles.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            28 has used the 3M glue. Unless I determine the formula changed since about 2008, I’m using the 3M glue.

            Go ahead and rub it in more about DDing that Deville :)

            I wonder if I can just buy a garage and live in it?

            @matador

            You’re welcome. Serviceability suggests fleet vehicles like the Panther, W-body, DN101 Taurus, and I’m going back to RWD Volvo which are designed for easy servicing. I still like the Legend/RL though but I am not sure what servicing is like on them.

            DN101 Taurus is something you can still get from a civilian, I wouldn’t want one from fleet as the transaxle likes to break in heavy use (or even gentle use at times). If this tickles your fancy go find some low miles/no rot Taurus/Sable somewhere in the Southwest and simply plan for an eventual transaxle replacement, don’t buy fleet. My ex ten years ago had an MY00, had all sorts of stupid problems with it but it always started and drove like 3800. While we’re on 3800, Park Ave is something else worth looking for but I’m not sure on availability.

            @Dal

            Thanks. Sight unseen is ballsy, but I’ve done it. I’m not seeing too much of a problem with this purchase, documented timing belt, reasonable money, and you know the motor/platform can go much further. The HG is the only thing which worries me but if you’re gonna just drive is occasionally anyway an eventual RL motor swap could be in the offing right? It sounds like you did well, congratulations.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ Corey, the 3m trim double stick tape is the wa to go, the adhesive sucks. It is a bit of a pain to cut to the right shape but it is woth it.

            @ Matador, the Taurus is a good inexpensive vehicle but for the 1 MPG difference I’ll take a Panther any day of the week. Years ago I picked up a 2000 Taurus for cheap and it went through the family first as my wife’s daily driver/beater until it was replaced with a 2001 Grand Marquis. I took over the Taurus which then went to my son when I took over the Gm. Finally when the Taurus was going to need a new battery tires and brakes soon the Grand Marquis went to my son. Because we all have different driving patterns we all got different MPGs with the same car however the one thing that was consistent is that the Taurus only got 1 MPG better for any of us.

            To all of us the GM was preferred for as more comfortable for the driver, better visibility, easier to park, bigger trunk ect. The only thing that the Taurus is better at, other than MPG, was a little more leg room in the rear.

            Around here I can get an ex police Crown Vic for half of what the Taurus goes for at the gov’t auctions. That more than makes up for the 1 MPG difference.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ Corey I forgot to share the trick to putting the trim tape on weird/intricate shapes. Place the tape on the back of the emblem putting the strips nice and tight to each other. Then place it face up on a sacrificial piece of wood. Hold it down tight while using your exacto to trim around the edges. A little angle so the tip is slightly under the edge of the emblem keeps it neat looking once installed.

            The adhesive will not look as good or last as long as properly applied tape. There is a reason that every mfg uses the more expensive tape over adhesive.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            DN101 to my recollection was exactly 20/27 and I mean *on the nose* in 50/50 city/highway. The only reason I remember this is because I felt it was bizarre tank after tank to keep such consistency.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @Scout

            Thanks for the tips, I will definitely do that. Just ordered some 3M trim adhesive(the extra flat kind), Goo Gone, and a level on Amazon. I read too many accounts of the same variety for the adhesive that said it ate through their paint and clear coat. And they were all more recent accounts, which tells me they changed the formula over the old stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            My Vulcan-powered early Taurus may be the single car I’ve ever owned that cared least about driving style. 21/28, no matter whether I drove like the raging teenage idiot that I was or had an unusual outbreak of reasonableness.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dal

            Exactly describes my experience with the Vulcan.

            @corey, @scout

            Good stuff then, I suppose the glue changed.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            The late-’90s 3.5RL was Acura’s attempt to build a LS400-type car using the gen2 Legend platform. Similar body profile and isolating cushy ride.

            I use the 3M double-sided tape for car emblems and trim. Get the thin stuff, then cut it into small pieces to cover the bulk of the emblem.

            Wacky left-field choice: 1st gen Hyundai Azera.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            There is no such animal as a factory stickshift Volvo 940 in the US. 740s yes, though they are rare, and the 5spd used in the later ones and late 240s tends to die young compared to the older 4spd+O/D transmission. Nothing special about the brakes, you can get 940 rotors for <$20 at NAPA if you like Chinese.

            A 940 is a Panther that doesn't suck.

    • 0 avatar
      Exfordtech

      Panther love is your answer. Cruising comfort, the mod motor is nearly bulletproof, 25 mpg highway easily obtainable. Check out this fine gem:
      http://wyoming.craigslist.org/cto/5286832787.html
      Grama’s Crown Vic. $1995
      PS love how Craigslist for Wyoming has no subheadings, just the entire state.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        How are the Panthers in the wintertime? I’ve been able to get around with rear wheel drive pickups, but they’re a lot to handle sometimes. I’m assuming that the 4.6 is a better choice than the older 302?

        We have time, so availability shouldn’t be an issue unless something is made of unobtanium. I can wait for the right one- if I know what I’m waiting for.

        Miles aren’t too bad out here. Once of the cars that was auctioned was literally used to go from Cody to Cheyenne twice a month (About a 900 mile round trip) and that’s it. Our state is kind of weird that way. Montana is a lot different- they were auctioning off a police package Caprice last year (No, not the new one- the ones they used to chase OJ Simpson).

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I would go for a mid 90s fat Panther. The early 4.6 was eh plus Ford was using a modified AOD until I think MY94 (the AOD-E). The MY94 I believe had the improved 4R70W.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            There is no difference between an AOD-E and a 4R70 it was only a name change. Later they switched to the 4R70-W which is the same thing but with a wide ratio gear set.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I didn’t know, thanks. I didn’t recall a thing from the AOD-E because it didn’t run for very long but the original AOD and I are acquainted.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I’d DD a Marauder year round. Would just want to make sure it has good winter tires. It ought to have a better weight distribution than a truck, and the LSD should keep it clawing through the snow.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          As I mentiond above we had both a Taurus and Panther that were passed down through our family and the Panther is much better in the snow than the Taurus.

          Also don’t worry about the trans in a fleet Taurus, if that is what you want, it is a myth that the service those vehicles see is “hard”. People don’t drive them any different than they do their own car but they are usually much better maintained mechanically than any civilian owned version. Now cosmetically that is a different thing because the civilian owner may not drink coffee or eat in the car and they may park it in a garage.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Another tip on the Panther if you want winter tires which you really do if you live in Wyoming. The 03 up cars use the same wheels as an 05-14 Mustang which means that used aluminum wheels are cheap on craigslist, at least around here. I just put the winter tires on my current P71 and they went on a set of Mustang Bullitt wheels that I picked up for $50 including the center caps. Yeah one of them has a little curb rash but they are perfectly serviceable. The set of wheels and tires I put on my last one were $140 while the set I picked up for my daughters summer tires were $160 with the factory stainless lug nuts.

        The 03 up also has the new front suspension along with the new rear suspension that was introduced on the 98 models. The only caveat when buying ex police cars is that the lighting control module is addressable in the 06 and up cars which means that you need the proper scan tool to take the car out of dark mode, ie make the dome light come on when your open the doors. With the earlier cars it is just a matter of disconnecting the battery, unplugging the dark mode connector and reconnecting the battery.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You’ve got some real gems here today.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Agreed. I’ve already bookmarked this thread.

            I really thank all of you- this has been great advice! Most forums would have told me to: refurbish the Buick for a lot of money, buy a Miata, take public transportation, and to buy a diesel pickup. This advice is definitely a lot better.

            The maintenance man I know drives an ex-state Taurus. We have a pretty good maintenance program. There are Crown Vics up for auction every now and then. I’m in the “bigger is better” camp, so….

            On Panthers, is there a problem with the Watts Link suspension? I don’t know much about them, but think they started around 1998?

            In the last round of WYDOT surplus (Different than the state itself), I noticed that Crown Vics are pretty reasonable. They had a 2008 with about 100k on the clock go for about $3500. Not bad.

            Any words of wisdom on police cruisers? Out here, there is a lot of highway driving. Should I avoid the CVPI for civilian ones, or are they a solid choice?

            How are the Crown Victoria and Taurus for serviceability?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Overall the Panther wins by a long shot in servicability. There is just a lot more room around the engine. For example need to do a water pump, in the rare case they fail on a 4.6, and it is a simple 30-45min job. When, not if it fails on a Vulcan powered Taurus it is a 2+hr job. Spark plugs on the Vulcan are a royal pain and they are easy on a Panther. The only pain on a Panther is the oil filter but then the Taurus is not easy either.

            As far as how well a Panther that has been in police service will hold up over the long run usually very well. Around it was all the taxi drivers used to use and many of them would put another 200K+ on their retired cruisers that they purchased with 100K on them.

            The newer ones actually have a idle hours meter. If the car is running and the trans is not in gear that counter will tick off the hours. Ford says to count every hour of idle time as 33 miles of use for figuring out when to change the oil ect. Though as I’ve mentioned if the car is in dark mode then you can’t easily take it out of that mode yourself.

            The watts link suspension holds up very well. Yes if you slide it into a curb you may damage the links but keep it between the gutters and it will hold up just fine.

            The big thing to consider is the fact that the rear doors on most are in-op from the inside. If you are willing to do the work and you can find the parts in the wrecking yard it is a couple of hours of work including junkyard time.

            The trick is to look for a car that has active rear doors and a cloth or vinyl rear seat and hopefully one that hasn’t had a cage or bubble gum machine on the roof.

            My current one that I may just keep instead of flipping before the next auction was an unmarked car. That means the windows were tinted, it has never been covered with stickers, the rear doors were active, no holes in the roof, vinyl rear seat. Vs the one I just got rid of which I had to spend the time getting sticker residue off of, there was a plug in the roof, there are holes from the cage and of course I had to put the linkages in the rear doors and remove the bolt that keeps the windows from rolling more than 1/2 way down. Because of that and the fact that very good tires I spent top dollar for it $1500.

            Around here a white CV with ~100K goes for $1000-$1500 at auction. Black and whites go for a little less while colored cars, blue in the case of the county cars I buy go for $2500-$3000. Of course the prices vary depending on bullet holes, dents and if the mechanics have borrowed any parts.

            Borrowed parts are a problem with the ones from the county. They only auction them off every 6 months. That means that some of them sit around for 5 months waiting for the next auction. The problem comes with the mechanic needs a part for a car that is still in service. I’ve seen them missing head lights, tail lights, mirrors, fans and even an alternator.

            The real unusual case was the one that my daughter now drives. It had the entire wiper system removed. Actually that was a good thing for me because combined with the fact that it was the 1st CV in the auction and that they did the worst job of removing stickers means that I picked it up for $500. Everyone was saying that “it will be $300-$500 to replace all the missing wiper stuff.

            I went to the cheap self serve wrecking yard out in the boonies and spent under $50 with tax for all the wiper parts, less blades, and the linkages to make the rear doors active from the inside. All told I had the car licensed and on the road for about $800 and maybe 10hrs of chasing down the parts, installing them and cleaning all the left over goo from the stickers.

            So far it has gone 20K miles with only oil changes, though it will need brakes in the next year.

          • 0 avatar
            Exfordtech

            98 and up will have 16″ wheels, some 97 and all 96 and older Vics will have 15″ wheels, makes quite a savings on tires in my area. Service on all of these is not too difficult. Never saw any issues with the watts linkage.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Does dark mode alter anything other than the dome light on exit? My Buick doesn’t have a working dome light anyways, so that I could live with.

            Locking people in the back could also be fun! I’d need one with a cage, though. I’m assuming that on a stock CVPI, the outside door handles do work?

            It sounds like your area is a lot cheaper on vehicles. I don’t know why someone would pull an alternator though.

            Sounds like we may have a winner….

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Real talk. I seriously think I would be happier with a Panther than my Charger.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Dark mode only affect the door switches. You can still turn it on with the headlight switch. Though for some reason the county I buy mine from remove the regular dome light bulb. Plus at least around here all the agencies seem to order the “ticket light” which is a separate dome light that is nice and bright.

            THe rear doors still operate from the outside. The manual lock for the rear doors is relocated to the jamb area so you can only access it with the front door open. The power still works too. The county I buy mine from removes the window switches from the panel and zip tie them inside the door and still disconnect the power connector behind the B pillar trim in addition to putting the bolt in that keeps the windows from rolling down more than about 1/2 way.

            The most recent one I purchased had the headlight retaining clip removed. What kills me about the harvesting of parts is that they don’t pick a wreck or just one car they spread it out over 3-5 of the 15-20 they have.

            At the most recent auction there were, 1 missing the engine cooling fan, 1 missing the HVAC fan, 1 missing the alternator and mine missing the headlight clip. Half of them had their spare tires removed.

            One of the reasons I go to this auction is because they only do it twice a year so they have 15-25 at a time. The state and some cities on the other hand do public surplus and put one or two up at a time and they tend to go for more.

            In regards to the tires/wheels the 06 up police cars have 17″. The later rental spec cars as well as the LX sport also have 17″.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m thinking its a good choice based on everyone’s feedback, and can be had much newer than the typical stuff for under 5K.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Thelma and Louise called, they want their ride back.

  • avatar

    These make great 428/390 + C6 + 9″ donors for less hideous cars.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    I think that engine has had the stuffing knocked out of it.


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