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Shifty, I need your help!

judasjudas Posts: 217
First of all, this probably should get shoved in with another thread, probably under another topic, and for that I apologize.


Second, I just want to say that I've been on Edmunds Town Hall off and on for quote a while (4 years or so?) and I've been extremely impressed with both your general automotive knowledge and especially your quick, logical, accurate assessments of present and future used and classic car values. I've lost track of the number of times I've referred people to you and this board when checking on car prices.


Third, I've got a big fat problem. Not so much a problem but a general disillusionment with the current state of affairs when it comes to used Mustang prices.


About 2 or 3 weeks ago I decided it was time to get another toy, having been without one for several years due to the financial oppression inflicted upon me by college. So now I've got a little money and I want to have a little fun. I decide I want something I can drive on the weekends and take to the local drag strip without being embarassed. I decide on a Fox Body Mustang because of their modability, low price, and the fact that I've helped two of my friends do complete teardowns and rebuilds so I know quite a bit about the mechanics, and they owe me some help.


So I start poking around eBay, autotrader, stangnet and the Corral. Much to my dismay I see most of the asking prices seem to have been decided on after a hard night of heavy illicit drug use. To put it bluntly, these people are on crack (Can I say that here?). Let me give you an example or twelve:


http://www.corral.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=134955


Problem 1: LX Hatches are probably the LEAST desirable Mustang

Problem 2:Who knows how many miles are on this car. Many people selling Mustangs seem to think if its got a newer engine and a coat of paint then it doesn't matter if its got 250K miles on it and a salvage title.

Problem 3: 347 strokers are notorious, as is obvious from reading the ad and one of the replys, for oiling problems and the extreme rod angles are considered by most to be a very bad idea for anything other than a purpose built drag idea.


And the guy is asking 10,500 dollars for it.


Heres another:


http://www.corral.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=139464


122K miles and its an ex-highway patrol car. The patrol car package carries a small list of desirable options but it also carries with it the knowledge that this car was probably beat to hell for 118 of those 122 thousand miles. Plus the damn thing still has the spotlight and the pushbar on it. Who in their right mind wants anything to do with those?


It gets worse:


http://www.corral.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=132765


1989 5.0 Coupe. Certainly a nice paint job. Nice long list of repairs, which IMO doesn't really add to its value, just keeps it from being lower. Lower than average miles. Mostly stock. 10,000 friggin dollars!


Shifty, my wants are simple. I'm not looking for an ultra low mileage pristine one owner car. All I want is a 89-91 5.0 Coupe with a 5 speed in decent condition with under 100K miles for $4,000 or less. Preferably 3,500 or less. Am I wrong in thinking that that shouldn't be at all difficult to find? Or are they right and any Mustang that doesn't have a salvage title or over 150K miles is automatically worth at least 5 grand?


I've always been under the impression that the absolute BEST you're ever going to do selling a modified car is average retail plus 50% of the price of the parts, assuming the mods were done well and that you get back none of the cost of labor. And thats absolute best. In most cases its going to be more like 25%, if not less, if not negative in some case (I personally wouldn't buy any 302 stroker, or anything that has nitrous on it, or anything that has aftermarket forced induction, not that I really have anything against any of these things, I just think theres a good change that you'll be taking someone elses problem of their hands and paying them for it).


So what do you think? Am I wrong, or are they?


Please, restore my faith in the world of used cars.

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Comments

  • chris396chris396 Posts: 53
    Most Mustangs have been rode hard and put away wet. It?s getting hard to find an unmolested example. I just sold my '92 5.0 convertible with 76K miles for $6,800 a couple months ago. It took me two weeks to sell it. I think you should find what you're looking for but it's just going to take a little more time than the normal used car buy.

    My cousin races a 5.0 that has 250K miles. The engine has never been apart.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    5-liter (stock) convertible with a full load of options and 82k miles for $2,900.

    It was on the market for quite a while. The only serious drawback to this car was it needed a new top about $1400).

    I was unhappy with the price I got but then again it's nearly 30% of what I paid for it in 1990.
    That makes it the best used car I ever bought, FWIW.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,807
    I think what you are asking are really a number of questions merged into one.

    First of all, "asking prices" can be simply and clearly defined as this:

    "Asking prices are an exercise in First Amendment Rights".

    Other than that, they have little value in determining what the market really is.

    It is ONLY the paid price that counts, and we, as spectators, often cannot know from the asking price what the car actually sells for:

    So your question really might be:

    Why do people ask so much more than published book values?

    Two answers to that I think:

    1. They expect the market to bail them out for money perhaps foolishly spent, or for lots of repairs they did.

    2. They do not know the market, or don't care about the market, and may not even want to sell the car. If they wanted to sell it, they'd price it realistically. So they are perhaps trolling for naive buyers. Well, fine, it's a free country (more or less).

    Another glitch in answering your question comes up when cars are heavily modified, because you can't really use the published price guides.

    How well was the work done?
    Are these quality parts and materials?

    As you can see from the above, two modified cars of identical miles and year could vary wildly in price depending on how the work was done.

    LAST of all, you are shopping for what everyone else wants--- a cheap, well cared for 5.0 that hasn't been beat to death. Given that most have, and given that even being well cared for these cars are not god's most durable machines in terms of body, trim, suspension (after all, they were not expensive cars when built), I'd say you have a long search on your hands.

    With a car like this, my advice is always the same: find the best car you can afford and buy it. Don't buy a beater to fix up, you go to your grave trying to get your money out of it.

    But people will always buy the best from you when it comes time to sell.

    MODERATOR

  • roschrosch Posts: 1
    I agree that the market for decent 5.0 Mustangs seems crazy. A couple of years ago, a guy I worked with was going to seel his 87 or 88 GT hatch. It was a nice enough car; 98k one owner miles, auto trans, never wrecked. He asked my opinion on what to ask for it. I said $3500 to $4000. He asked $5500. And got it within a month. And he didn't even advertise, he just parked along the road.

    Anyway, I too would love to have a 5.0, but I'm discouraged by the prices I see. My thoughts are to look for a convertible. Oddly enough, they don't really seem to bring higher prices than any of the closed models, and they seem more common.

    Also, the 94-95 cars are the same basic platform, as I'm sure you are aware. Prices for those cars seem to be still be set by the used car market.

    Always remember: 5.0 Mustangs are not rare. Ford built a million of them (literally). Your car is out there if you're patient enough to find it.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    I couldn't agree more with your points 1 & 2. And, as always, your analogy to the 1st Amendment is absolutely spot on - hence, the Presidential reference ;-).

    There are a lot of parallels between appraising classic cars (as you do) and appraising commercial real estate (as I do). Some market participants just don't get it. I'll look at the listing prices of other comparable properties. But, what I generally hang my hat on is what similar properties actually SOLD for.

    Also, some classic car owners will bring up their car's "insured value" as a basis for determining it's "market value". That's a false comparison. For most classic cars (at least the one's I can afford), these two terms are not synonymous.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,807
    I see many inflated appraisals, which is stupid because the insurance company will not pay it, or even write a policy on it. They aren't fools either you know.

    The coupes are probably worth close to the convertibles because really the coupes are a much nicer car to drive. The 5.0 convertible chassis are pretty loose by modern standards and hitting a rough patch at high speed can be quite a shock. Welded in frame stiffeners would help (I don't like the bolt-in types).

    But hell, if a tight clean one is $5,500 and a rattier car is $4,000, go for the expensive one even if the price seems high. It won't seem so after you've spent lots of money trying to square away a neglected car.

    Mustangs of this era suffer the same fate as MGBs used to. They end up in the hands of young people without a lot of money except in those rare cases.

    MODERATOR

  • chris396chris396 Posts: 53
    Even with full-length welded subframe connectors my1992 Mustang GT felt a lot less solid than my 1969 Camaro RS SS does. I had to replace the top on mine when I bought it. I paid $700 total including materials and labor.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,807
    There are a number of somewhat famous coupes that are worth more than their convertible counterparts:

    '63 Corvette Split Window Coupe
    Mercedes Gullwing coupe

    I think this trend will continue for certain types of cars once collectors become more and more aware that the coupe version of a particular car has driving advantages over the flip top.

    In europe for instance, they do not usually vintage race the cabriolet variants, they race only the coupes, so there you may find higher prices for the coupes as well.

    MODERATOR

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    when I was trying to sell my convertible? It took longer than I thought and I had to accept less than book.

    This was a clean, unmodified, adult-driven car with relatively low mileage.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,807
    Might depend on the geography too. In some areas, they are too plentiful, in other areas, maybe not enough.

    And anyway, there's nothing to say they are "paying" high prices, only that people are asking high prices.

    MODERATOR

  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    Well, I found one. Wired the guy a 500 dollar deposit and I'm picking it up on the 10th. Only two downsides, I have to drive about 8-9 hours to pick it up and its an 88 so its probably got the speed density FI instead of the mass air FI, although thats fairly easily remedied for about 500 bucks.

    88 Mustang 5.0 Coupe. 58K original miles. 5 speed. Newer paint. Fairly unmolested in terms of motor, its got some basic bolt on performance parts but nothing major. Paid $3700, a very fair price in my opinion.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,807
    Do you have the option to back out of the deal if you don't like the car?

    MODERATOR

  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    Yeah, although I don't anticipate using it. I've seen pictures of the car from every angle and the interior and unless the guy is just a flat out liar it's pretty much exactly what I'm looking for. The guy sounded pretty cool, I've talked to him three or four times on the phone. Late 30's, campaigns a pro street Corvette in Canada, bought the Mustang from a buddy 2 years ago (Buddy owned it for 5 years) and just tooled around with it on the weekends, it was a 2nd or 3rd car for both of them.

    Ran a carfax on it and everything checked out.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,807
    Yeah, but Carfax is far from infallible. Don't "relax" on the car. Give it a very good going over. One has to know how to read Carfax. If you see title transfers from Georgia, New Hampshire or Alabama, watch out. Also, a car can be *completely totalled* and still show a clean title on Carfax! Titles are often "laundered" and if an accident happens during title transer from one owner to another, the total won't show either.

    As for whether private sellers can be liars, well, Ebay tells THAT story pretty well I think.

    Be careful and you'll be fine. Don't trust anyone in a car deal, not even me.

    MODERATOR

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    I'm concerned (NH resident).

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Probably a state that doesn't have salvage or flood titles on cars. You buy a flood damaged car in Texas (we have plenty of them, beleive me!), title it in a state without flood or salvage titles (all you need is a willling buddy with an address in that state), and then get the title transferred back to Texas again, and suddenly a car with a flood title you bought for $500 becomes a car with a clean title you can sell for $5,000 to an unsuspecting victim. And where there's big money to be made, something as trivial as it being illegal won't stop unprincipled con artists.
  • You say that 10k Is too much?

    Car #1: It says that the car has a 347 stroker engine with 4k miles. Thats like getting a new car. This isnt just your average 302 but a 347 that someone probably put a lot of work into. Seems reasonable, Iam sure for about 8k it can be bought.

    #2 Ex Police car- These cars are in high demand. Everyone wants to get of of them for their aftermarket parts. Shift kits, etc. That seems a little high in price though but not by a lot.

    BTW, I have access to carfax so if you want, I can run a report on any vehicle that you might like. Just email me the vin @ amrant@yahoo.com
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,807
    I dunno...I'm of the opinion that ex police cars are run down tired cars. You'd be better off just buying the aftermarket parts from someone else who paid so much for an entire tired car, seems to me.

    MODERATOR

  • Here is MHO: The fox chassis Mustang has been the most performance for the dollar car in the last 30 years. This, combined with the fact that there is an unbeleavable amount of perfomance parts and engineering support, has made a huge relatively low dollar enthusiast market. This has driven the market a little high for a very common car of its age and milage.

    You can buy a GT 5 speed and with very little work and money campaign a weekend racer. The 5.0L is also fairly indestructable, and if you do blow it up you can get a rebuild kit or a rebuilt motor for pocket change.

    It looks like the ads you saw were definately enthusiast cars. Which can have a bit of "I LOVE my car, so it is worth more", added onto the price.

    Good luck on the one you have found.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    "It says that the car has a 347 stroker engine with 4k miles. Thats like getting a new car."

    No, it's like getting a used car with a rebuilt engine. And a rebuilt engine that is notorious for oiling problems at that. A car with a rebuilt engine IS NOT like a new car. Some people obviously think that, and thats part of the problem. You see people posting how many miles are on their rebuild and NOT posting how many miles are on the car, like it no longer matters. Like even if the car has 180K miles on it its suddenly worth the same as a car that has 50K miles on it just because its had the engine rebuilt. Newsflash, that ain't how it works. Theres a hell of a lot more to a car than its engine. Personally I'd rather have a 150K mile engine in a 30K mile car than a 30K mile engine in a 150K mile car. 5.0's aren't difficult or expensive to rebuild, so a 150K mile engine doesn't bother me. A 150K mile chassis, on the other hand, does bother me.

    "I'm of the opinion that ex police cars are run down tired cars. You'd be better off just buying the aftermarket parts from someone else who paid so much for an entire tired car, seems to me."

    Exactly how I feel about it.

    Regardless, it doesn't matter any more. I got a cherry low mileage 5 speed coupe and I didn't pay a whole hell of a lot for it. Virtually nothing compared to what would have been asked for it on corral.
  • What do mean Judas?

    I police car HAS to be the best car to get. A police car would never be diven over the speed limit or in any wild, unsafe, or unlawful manor. ;-)

    I agree, buy a regular one, upgrade it yourself.
    Is there really much dfference nowdays on a police version??
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    "A police car would never be diven over the speed limit or in any wild, unsafe, or unlawful manor."

    You don't know cops that well. My mom's a cop, and her job is mainly supervising the beat cops all day, many of whom are my age (early '20's). Her department uses a mixture of Impalas and Crown Vics, and she handed out some very serious reprimands when a rookie cop issued a Chevy got into a debate with a rookie cop issued a Ford over whose police car was faster, and decided to settle the matter John Force style.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,960
    ...about 4 years ago, an '89 Gran Fury. It really hasn't been a great car, but it hasn't been a really bad car, either. The biggest problem is that it tends to eat starters. Chrysler started using these little lightweight starters sometime in the '80's, I guess, that are real easy to burn up, and rebuilt ones have a high failure rate. I don't know if this is true or not, but my mechanic said it was basically a Honda starter. I'm sure that would be some good fodder for the "buy American" crowd ;-) Then again, a starter designed to turn over a little lightweight 4-cyl is going to be pretty stressed turning over a 318!

    I've heard as a rule of thumb, for police cars, double the mileage on the odometer to get a rough "average" civilian car equivalent. My Gran Fury had about 73,000 miles on it, so that's about the equivalent of 146K miles out of a regular passenger car.

    I probably put about 20-30K miles on it delivering pizzas too, which was probably every bit as grueling as what the cops put it through! It now has about 118-119,000 miles on it, with a bad water pump. I'm about to strip whatever goodies will swap onto my '79 NY'er, and sell what's left.

    It's actually a pretty quick car for the era. In 0-60, it's about as quick as my '00 Intrepid, although the 'Trep is more responsive at higher speeds. I think the Fury will top out at a higher speed though...something like 125-130 mph, whereas I'm guessing the 'Trep would have a rev limiter. I don't know though...I've only had it up to 100! Excellent brakes, too.

    Other problem areas on the Fury were power windows (both burned out on the driver's side), the fuel pump (every smallblock Mopar I've owned needed one of those, though), radiator (Richmond police must've run straight water in it for awhile), and valve covers, front main seal leak. The car was retired though, when the #8 camshaft lobe went bad. The place I bought it from threw a 318 out of a wrecked '88 Diplomat with about 75K on it. Supposedly, there was a run of bad camshafts in '89, that, if your 318 got stuck with one of the bad ones, it would fail between 70-90,000 miles. If it didn't get one from the bad batch, it ran until you got tired of the car and then sold it or junked it.

    As for police cars nowadays, I don't know if there's much difference or not. I know an Impala LS, with the 3.8 V-6, has the same brakes as the police versions. They did this to save on redundant parts. Still, according to a recent Motortrend test that pitted the Impala up against a Taurus, Accord, Altima, and Camry, the Impala's disks were the smallest, at least up front. It was equipped with 11.0" disks, whereas the lighter Accord had 11.1", the Camry and Taurus had 11.6", and the Altima had 11.7". I'm not sure what size my Gran Fury's disks are. I've heard the benchmark was the old R-body (Newport/St. Regis/big Gran Fury) that had massive 12.75" disks.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I've heard Mopar starters referred to as "gear reduction" starters (which accounts for their characteristic souond). To me that implies that they have a gear that multiplies the starter motor's torque, almost like a transmission, in addition to the gear that meshes with the ring gear. If that's true I wonder if that's why Chrysler thought Honda starters were plenty good enough.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    I'd have guessed they would have used Mitsubishi starters, if anything. In any event, I've noticed that for a long time now, any Chrysler product sounds like a typical Japanese car at startup, even the ones without Mitsu-sourced engines.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    In 1962, as I remember, the Chrysler products started using this reduced gear ratio between the starter and the flywheel, to make the engine turn over more revolutions for every starter crank than it had before. This gave them all a distinct sound for many years after, and thus the name, "gear reduction". I don't think that has any relation to the starters they use now, but I'm not sure. The engines now, and transmissions,of course, are completely different. Speedshift, whadya say?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I haven't heard the sound of a small electric motor being tortured in a long time so Chrysler must have moved on to something else.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,960
    ...is that my Gran Fury uses a much smaller starter than any other Mopar I've had, including my '68 Dart, '79 Newport and NY'er, etc. It's an expensive little mother too, costing something like $188.00 just for the part. In contrast, I remember my Dart's starter (also a 318) was something like $80.00, and my Newport's was about $120 or so.

    The Gran Fury also sounds different from the Dart or the NY'er (don't have the Newport anymore) when it starts up. The others sound like they'll keep starting up reliably forever, but the Gran Fury just sounds tortured somehow. It also catches quicker than the others...too quick, it seems, sometimes.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,441
    My boss mentioned today an article he saw about an old car. Best he can describe it, it was Ford related (but maybe not a Ford product), made around '49-'51, two seater, modern looking with a 260+ HP V8.

    Does this ring a bell? I was thinking Sunbeam Tiger, and maybe he had the date wrong. Or maybe an Allard with a Ford engine?

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

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