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Absolute STEALS!

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
This topic is to help us all ferret out, reveal and/or discover those few rare precious cars that have all...ALL.... of the below qualifications:

1. They are attractive

2. They perform really well in their intended purpose.

3. They are ridiculously, conspicuously under-priced for what you get.

4. Their value will be going up soon--it's just that nobody has noticed yet how undervalued they are.

Cite examples when you can of cars you see for sale.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Holy Moly Batman! Have you seen the prices on C4 Corvettes?





    NOTE TO NEW VISITORS -- these ads will have been deleted in a week after posting, but these are clean, good-running C4s with reasonable miles (or low miles), none over $6,000 bucks, some as cheap as $4,700 ASKING prices...
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,425
    C4 Corvettes? Blech. They're only $5,000 for a reason.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    So what's your problem? :P
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,425
    Underwhelming horsepower and performance, the sort of quaint futurism typical of '80s cars, and the chronic unreliability of the ancillary systems and interior materials. If you want to blow five grand on that, you go right ahead.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,700
    Then I guess the question is - what sports/sporty car would you rather blow five grand on?
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,425
    From the late '80s? Supra Turbo, RX7 Turbo II, MR2 supercharged (yes, there is a theme here). The problem with all of these cars (including the 'vette) is that their successors in the '90s were better, faster, and more desirable cars all around, so these get left to the side as historical curiousities.

    As for Shifty's original premise of undervalued sports cars, the '87-88 Nissan 200SX SE with the V6 from the base Z comes to mind.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I just can't imagine a C4 losing a race to a stock Nissan 200SX under any circumstances unless I started in 3rd gear and deflated the tires to 15 psi? :P I can't imagine even CALLING a 200SX a sports car unless you built it up into one. (no fair, there goes the "steal" part).

    Sure the C4 has a lot of crappy parts on it, bump, couldn't agree more, but it will humiliate a 200SX on the skidpad and 0-60, or just about any other car from the 1980s for that matter. It'll pull nearly a G and should do 0-60 in about 5.7. Looks like only the Mazda TT would beat it and the very last Supra turbos would but not the early ones.

    MR2 SC is also a STEAL

    Mazda RX7 TT is not that cheap a car anymore :cry:

    Supra Turbo is a great car, not that cheap but not too bad. Maybe not a "steal" but a bargain, yes.

    But "bang for buck" the C4 stands out and parts are cheap IMO.

    And the later LT1 and LT4 C4s, mo' bettah.

    Still crappy parts on them, though.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    "...the '87-88 Nissan 200SX SE with the V6..."

    I think finding an unmolested one in decent shape would be difficult. How about a late '80s 300Z turbo? There's a decent supply of these at reasonable prices.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    300ZX turbos of the '80s were relatively slow. For a couple of thousand dollars more, in a straight line a 1990 NA 300ZX would leave it pretty far behind and on a track would leave the old Turbo in a smoldering pile. For less than $10K, you can get a 1990 TT, which is way more car than a C4.

    RX-7 Turbo II's weren't much faster than a 300ZX Turbo of the day and aren't known for reliability. They didn't have the simplicity, charm and driving feel of the first generation cars or the perfomance of the third generation cars. The third generation cars are a decent buy, as long as you reserve the cash to replace the engine and turbos ever 50K or so, which kind of keeps it from being a bargain (in the way that a Maserati BiTurbo is no bargain).

    The Supra Turbo of the '80s was a 3600 lb boulevardier. I like these, but don't confuse them as being anywhere near the league of the Supra that followed. The last Supra TTs offer 110% of the performance of the last 300ZX TTs at two to three times the price of the Z. No bargain there.

    MR2 Supercharged is a fun little go cart. Cute and quaint in an outdated sort of way, and not particularly fast or well sorted but still a ton of fun for the $. Similar comments go for a CRX Si, but the CRX has some extra functionality benefits.

    For performance for the dollar, it is hard to beat a C4 (even with their cheap interiors and poor reliability).

    I'll nominate an '86 944 Turbo which costs a little more than a C4, but also offers a little more in the way of engineering and quality.

    For pure driving fun for the dollar, it is hard to beat a '99 Miata for $7K.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Shoot you can buy an early 90s Miata for DIRT...and you get a cute, good handling two-seater that doesn't look THAT much different than a 2008 car.

    I'd agree, early Miatas are a STEAL right now. Once they start to die off, they'll go up in value the way MGBs did once the hundreds of thousands of them made, were whittled down by accident and neglect.

    944 Turbos are AWESOME cars and if well sorted and well driven will give a new Porsche 911 fits on a tight racecourse. But 944 Turbos aren't too cheap.....I'd say "bargain" but not STEAL. For a really nice one you can pay $15K on up.

    I think the OLDER 300ZXs (83-89) are pretty darn cheap but they are the "old style", and are heavy, kinda porky cars to drive. I'd say a "bargain" but no STEAL for what you get--which is pretty boring machinery.

    The very last Mazda Twin Turbo was a seriously fast car and should probably be able to beat any C4 or 300ZX turbo, but not by a lot. But really, is that 1/2 a second worth the extra $10K + you'd pay? Don't think so. And the car is a hand grenade with a loose pin, you got that right.

    How 'bout the Tercel 4X4 wagon? These are now worth about $500 bucks on a good day. A roomy, reliable Japanese wagon with great fuel mileage and 4X4 when you need it? Seems a STEAL to me!
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    ...funny how you can buy an early 1990s Miata dirt cheap these days. When they were new, they were so popular people were paying over MSRP to get one.

    There's somebody at work who has a vehicle called a Toyota Corolla All-Trac. I guess this was an early attempt at what we now call cross-overs.
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,425
    There's somebody at work who has a vehicle called a Toyota Corolla All-Trac.

    That would be this one. There were quite a few of those Japanese 4x4 wagons in the late '80s, but the appreciating yen and the Ford Explorer pretty much killed them off.

    Toyota also had an All-Trac Tercel, Previa, Celica, and a Camry wagon and sedan. One of those manual Camry sedans with a 3S-GTE swap would make for just about the ultimate sleeper.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think even a Celica All Trac turbo!

    The Toyota All Tracs seem to bring a lot more money than the Tercel 4X4, so not such a steal if you have to pay $3K-$4K for a 20 year old Japanese car.

    Maybe the Tercels are cheaper because they are manual 4X4, not AWD. The Tercels were like those very early Subarus in that regard, you had to mash them into 4X4. But they didn't suck valves like Subarus loved to do.
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,425
    The Celica All-Trac was a turbo. No one expects a turbo AWD Camry. I wonder if anyone's ever tried to cram an All-Trac setup into a '90s MR2 Turbo?

    The early-mid 80s Tercel was a regular old manual 4x4 system, but the generation after that got the All-Trac setup with the electronic locking diffy and all that fun stuff.
  • gussguss Member Posts: 1,167
    you should mention cheap Miatas.

    I had a hankering for one when they came out in 1989, but the size was just too small for a daily driver. Well, I guess I shrank a bit in the past 19 years(has it really been around that long), but when I tried one on recently I found it tolerable for a weekend\commuter car.

    So I ended up buying a '97 M-edition with 85k miles for under $5k. It is in pretty decent shape wit a few nicks and scratches but nothing I can't live with. I thin the market has hit bottom on these and can only go up as some people actually desire the first generation more than the later years.

    I also checked out the C-4 Corvettes, I actually like the styling on them. Anything under $6k had over 100k miles and rattled and squeaked. The Miata by comparison is very quite.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yeah you need to go after any used C4 with your socket set, bits of foam padding, silicone lubricant, wedges, pads, and crow bar to get the dashboard symphony to quiet down.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    I like C4s, but I can't look past the ugly interiors.

    With Porsche 912 prices going up, MGB GTs are starting to look pretty good to me.

    240Zs seem to be either high priced, rust buckets or both. In comparison, late '70s RX7s are starting to look cheap.

    The rise in early 911 prices seems to have carried forward into the crappy engined 74-77 models. SCs don't seem to be going up yet even though they are much better cars. I can't figure out that one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well it seems to me that the early cars bring up the later ones sooner or later. Look at 71-73 Mustangs. You couldn't give those a way for a long time, but now they are starting to appreciate quite well.

    I guess what happens is that all the early stuff finally gets restored or demolished, leaving newcomers no choice but to run after the newer models, like the SC, at some point in the future.

    I mean, think about it, there are people who spend $100,000 to restore an early 911. True it is magnificent, and will sell for way beyond book value, but these selling prices start to make shoppers look at SCs in a new light.

    Yep, RX-7s are total bargains. They are dirt cheap, DIRT cheap.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    ...I remember when early Chevrolet Novas and Chevelles were dirt cheap. Now, I see ridiculous asking prices for some examples and no, I'm not talking about Yenkos or 396 SS Chevelles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You mean for plain-jane Chevelles and Novas with small blocks or 6s? You can probably still buy them well under $10,000 in decent shape. Of course, so many of them have been modified that people have tons more money in them than they would be worth bone stock.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Having owned three RX7's, I have nothing but good to say about them. They are GREAT cars that can still be bought for little money.

    There are a couple of things people need to be aware of or they quill quickly kill that little rotary but when well maintained they are a wonderful car.

    I am always amazed at how much power they can get out of that "beer keg" rotary!
  • gussguss Member Posts: 1,167
    I have had two and they were probably the most fun cars I have ever owned. Climbing inside always reminded me of getting into a planes cockpit.

    The problem is finding one in decent shape( I always liked the pre '86 styling best) because alot of them have been turned into track cars, or have had a Chevy V-8 put in them.

    If I could have found a survivor with under 125k miles in decent shape I would have bought one over my Miata.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    All RX 7's will use some oil. It's their nature and they HAVE to use oil to keep those seals lubricated. Not a big deal but you have to watch your oil level.

    And you can NEVER EVER get one overheated. If you blow a heater hose and try to drive to the next repair shop a block away, you WILL ruin the engine.

    A rotary expert once told me.." If you ever THINK you might have overheated your RX 7, you HAVE".

    Still, great cars that are becoming hard to find now.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    I had an '84 that died at around 85K miles. The guy I bought it from promised he regularly changed the oil...

    The scary thing about them is that the engines often die without warning. An apex seal goes, and it just quits. Service records (particularly oil changes) are vital when buying one of these.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Yes, that too. You have to make sure all of your belts and hoses are in good shape too.

    All of this is well worth the effort. Nothing like winding one of these little jewels to 7000 RPM. Silky smooth and what a sound!

    The real early rotaries before the RX 7's had a nasty havit of backfiring when slowing down. A friend had a early rotary sedan that made an M-80 sound like a cap pistol.

    It would even backfire five minutes after being shut down, all by itself!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    MazdaTrix also warns against using synthetic oil in a rotary, interestingly enough. Sounds controversial, but those guys have tons of experience rebuilding rotaries, so one has to take their advice with some seriousness.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    Pretty much all the rotary experts say to avoid synthetic like the plague.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,700
    Maybe has something with the '2-stroke' nature of oil consumption in those rotaries? Maybe synthetics don't burn cleanly?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yep, some kind of residue issue.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    don't you also have to be pretty religious about changing the coolant? I thought I read somewhere that you should do it every 2 years max, compared to the usual 3 years/36K miles.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    I know what Shifty says about cars with this many miles, but a V8 luxury GT for $6000 is a lot of car for the money SC400

    97/98 Boxsters with less than 100K miles for around $12K are pretty appealing also.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 236,477
    What you really want is the SC300 with the stick-shift!! :)

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  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,425
    All five of them. There are probably more auto-manual-converted SC300s than built-as.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You mean "was" a lot of car for the money :P 205,000 miles?---the car is done for. It could implode in the next 15 minutes and no one would call that unexpected. More like $1,000 and a big roll of the dice is the right money IMHO. It's a "steal" but maybe not in the right direction.

    In human terms that car is 95 years old. Not sure about dog years.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    You are completely right, of course.

    After looking a little more, it seems that similar cars with half that mileage is only another $2-3K. That seems like a steal to me.

    Where is the point of demarcation for a car like this? On a '95 Lexus, was interest wavers heavily at around 135K miles. On a '95 BMW, more like 90K.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    "Where is the point of demarcation..."

    I think it's a steepening downward depreciation curve, that starts flattening out at some point after 200,000, rather than a point, since many of the same people who would consider a car with 205,000 would also consider one with 245,000. The big round numbers are the inflection points (100,000, 150,000, 200,000, etc.), where there are spikes in the number of people who say, "the mileage is too high; I'll pass."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    excellent question and excellent answer.

    My two cents is that on the automobile actuarial tables, the planned life of a car, be it due to mechanical failure, collision, what have you, generally cannot exceed (for a gasoline car) about 175K-225K miles. Now of course some cars will fail to reach that, and some will exceed. But as a rule, this is what to expect of any car. After 225K, you should plan on major expense of one sort or another and catastrophic failure.

    So when I look at a car with 205K, what's going on in my mind is "I have one good year if I'm lucky", then the waste product hits the spinning variable temperature device.

    Then the question becomes---what am I willing to pay for that one good year? $6,000? No way. I'd rather pay $9,000 for 3 or 4 good years.

    This is the way I think anyway.
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