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$10,000 will buy?

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
1. Porsche 928 (Mid Eighties)

Comment: Fast, comfortable and well-built, bargain-priced. Downside: massively expensive and complicated to repair. You could fall into financial hell if you picked the wrong car. Interesting car, but be very very careful.

2. BMW 325 Convertible (Late eighties, early
Comment: Harmless enough. Not very exciting, but reliable top-down experience and a good driver. A sensible fun car.

3. Mercedes 420SEL or 300E (Mid to late eighties)

Comment: Why age yourself prematurely? Big heavy tank of a car. Impressive but very boring.

4. 300ZX 2+2(1990 or 1991)

comment: Nice cars, very modern, attractive and delivers excellent performance. But of course it is Japanese and will feel like it inside. Still, worth a drive. A lot of car for the money.

5. Eldorado Convertible (Mid eighties)

Comment: You were kidding on this one, right?


  • ksm1ksm1 Posts: 17
    For the most part I agree with your thoughts. However, I would not consider a 300E to be a "big heavy tank of a car." The 420SEL yes its a tank, but comfortable and generally long lived.

    I have owned many Japanese cars over the years (including a 240Z and a 280ZX), and I agree that there is still a certain lack of substance about Japanese cars compared with the European cars.

    As for the Eldorado, I can't explain it but there has always been a special place in my heart for American boats. I remember attending an auto show the year that G.M. reintroduced the Cadillac and Buick convertibles. My frinds could not believe that I thought that these cars had an unusual "coolness" about them. You do not see many of them around anymore, and the ones I see seem to be in great shape...(I know, well cared for by their old man owners who are ready to die).

    Any other cars that could make the list? I saw a Reatta? convertible on my way home yesterday that was a looker...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That's the problem with the is just a "looker", not a "do-er". I think these "boats" are kinda fun until you drive them for a day, then everything changes. Also, the 1980s was a long point in American car quality, so you have to consider that as well.

    I like Benzes (used to work for them) but for me personally they are quite boring, heavy feeling and insular. Sometimes I like a car to feel that way, but usually not.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Your comments about the Mercedes go with something someone at my office said about them. He had a E430 Sport that I rode in several times, and it seemed like a great car--smooth, powerful, quiet, solid. Then one day he drives up in a new 540 wagon and asks if I want to buy the Mercedes (only in my dreams or with EZ payments). He said the BMW felt much more lively than the Mercedes. That surprised me--I always thought the best Euro cars had great feedback--but he owns a Boxster too, so he's got credentials.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Actually, in terms of "real" feedback, most modern cars are rather numb compared to some of the older European cars...this is due to sound insulation, power steering, brakes, big fat tires, etc. But most modern drivers wouldn't really tolerate that level of feedback. An insular experience seems more desirable these days, perhaps because driving has become a less pleasant experience. Drivers today don't really want to "let the world in", and that includes engine noises, the wind, and all the bumps and grooves in the road.
  • You mentioned comfort, style (you might want explain your meaning on this criterion) and reliability. Have you considered the following, which I think would all be in the $10K range? (in no particular order)
    1.Infinity Q45 (early 90s)
    2.Lexus LS400 (early 90s)
    3.Lexus SC400 (early 90s)
  • ksm1ksm1 Posts: 17
    Thanks for your thoughts. All have crossed my mind. I have not read or heard many positive things about the early Q45's durability. I have mixed thoughts about the Lexus'. While I have liked the LS400s that I have been in and can appreciate their level of quality and refinement I find some "intangible feeling" lacking. This could come from my bias against Toyota products(I have disliked each of them I have owned). However, I will make it a point to spend some time with a LS400 as everyone I know who owns one is happy with it. I think that SC400s are selling for more than $10,000.
  • You're probably right, the SCs will probably be $12-13K but I wasn't sure how flexible you were.
  • ksm1ksm1 Posts: 17
    I think that that Speedshift and Mr. Shiftright are correct about the difference. In 1999 when I was looking for a new 4 door, I thought I would get an E320. My father has had a few Mercedes over the years, and currently has two. He has always been happy with them and I have always liked driving them. Because I like cars, buying one gives me the excuse to look at everything even when I think I know what I want. The minute I drove the BMW 528i I knew it was the car for me. The BMWs are much more responsive and feel "younger" than the Mercedes products.

    While I will not keep this car long (three years) I think that the Mercedes will look more stylish over a longer period of time. Style wise, I think that most BMW sedans only look stylish while they are current. I look back at the 80's 5 or 7 series now and think that they are borderline ugly. While the S class and to a lesser extent the E class still look good.
  • I agree on the mid-eighties 5 series but I think the late eighties/early nineties 5-series is better looking than the more recent versions. Unfortunately, I think BMW's reliability is somewhat marginal until more like the mid-nineties.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think if we are going to talk about cars like Lexus and Infiniti, we should move over to the > or > conference. I'd like to keep the discussion here to Classics or potentially Collectible cars. Thanks!

    shiftright the host
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,550
    I know the Caddy Eldorado from that era was famous for meltdown of its aluminum engine, but what about an Olds Toronado or Buick Riviera convert from the same era? The Olds 307 used in both cars was pretty solid, but I don't know about the rest of the car. I guess the fwd mechanicals would probably be a weak link.
  • ksm1ksm1 Posts: 17
    Mr. Shiftright brings up an interesting point about not letting the world in. One of my cars is a 76 Corvette - very, very far from an insular experience. I enjoy this car for about the first 10 to 20 miles that I drive it. Then the noises, vibrations, heat etc. become more work than they are worth. Cars have come a long way since this was designed. I think I keep this car because every time I see it I love "the look" of the car. Unfortunately, I find that it sits more than I would like it to because it is less and less fitting into when and where I drive. Nine out of ten times I choose the 528i.

    I guess, my like of convertibles is an attempt to balance the "world" vs. being shut out. As we look at what may become "classic" or "collected" in the future, I think that the more insular will win out over the worldly.

    Any thoughts about RX7 convertibles, The later 5.0 Mustang convertibles?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    But I really believe an RX-7 convertable would be a good investment. They look great, cause few problems and are a blast to drive.

    Too bad Mazda had to overpower and overprice the wonderful RX-7's before Ford came in and killed them!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think the RX7 and 5.0 Mustangs will always have buyers but I don't see them ever bringing big the case of the Mazda, not too many really care about them, and in the case of the Mustang, there are gazillions on the road, so they are hardly distinctive enough for collectibility. But any "sporty" ragtop will find buyers.. they won't necessary bid to the roof. For real collectibility you need the magic formula of many more willing buyers than there are cars available.
  • ksm1ksm1 Posts: 17
    I think that most will agree that autos in the pure sense of "investment" when compared with other traditional investments such as stocks will not fair as well. I do not think that it is economics that drive broad based auto collectibility. It is a love for a particular auto. That love can be for various reasons that are individual to each of us. However, if enough of us have the same experience, feelings, or stimulus as to an auto then we will be more likely to make an auto "collectible" in a popular sense.

    I guess I am not a purest, but easily finding buyers for an "old car" that is probably inferior to a new car is okay with me. Having other people around to communicate with and share common experiences with is enjoyable and adds to my life. The number of people that I can share Corvette stories with is far greater than those with whom I can share Duesenburg stories. (I actually have no Duesenburg stories, but you get my point...I hope)

    Yes, the economics of supply and demand apply to autos. However, a large demand can accommodate a large supply. With autos, for the most part, having been produced in ever growing large numbers across the board for many years now, people will "connect with" memory cars that are very likely not rare.

    I guess, I can relate better to the 57 Chevy, 65 Mustang, (insert other common car here) that everyday people like and enjoy and therefore keep around long past their obsolescence.

    My $.02. In my quest, a pure collectibility is not my main goal. Some vehicles have a presence, be it sporty or stately that will transcend time thus making the vehicle popular into the future. My original list contained a Porsche 928 (sporty) and Mercedes 420 SEL (stately).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Some cars are made popular by movies and advertising rather than merit, which is another factor in collecting. that boosts demand (to a point)--e.g., Deloreans and old VW bugs. I can't imagine a 1990s Prelude (a perfectly fine car) ever being burned into the public consciousness however. There has to be some kind of dinstinctiveness, I think, even for 'ordinary', non big bucks popularity to occur.
  • ksm1ksm1 Posts: 17
    Mr. Shiftright, I will agree. What that distinctiveness is is the key. Sitting here in the year 2000, I agree that it is unlikely that a 1990s Prelude will "speak" for a generation in the future. However (I am showing my age here) what was a mid to late 50s Chevy saying in the mid 60s? Where they collected or were they just another 10 year old used car? What I am trying to say is that every decade produces something that will be desired in the future, it just takes time to see what that will become.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yeah, but....really, the cars that are "hot" today were "hot" the day they came seems an almost indisputable rule. And the cars that either laid an egg or went unnoticed aren't actively collected today. Oh, some people may in fact love them and restore them, but it's hardly a nationwide movement to save every Delorean or Avanti made, and certainly even a 50s 4-door Chevy often goes begging for a buyer if the price goes much over $5,000. But people would drag a real Hemi Cuda from the bottom of a lake to save it!

    But it's true what you say...I could never have dreamed I'd see a 1957 Chevrolet convertible sell for $75,000!
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    were hot from the beginning. When the 57 Chev came out, I [as a 9 year old] thought they were special right from the start. And in the 60's, when I was looking for my first car, 55-57 Chevs were my first choice, and the first choice of most guys my age. There were, and are, lots of good reasons for this. $75,000? Well, no, but then I never thought it would cost $25,000 to buy an ugly, cheaply built, economy car from Japan either. Most new cars have a definite "throw away" quality-unlike the Chevs and some other old cars. Sorry-off topic. Hey 10,000 bucks could buy a nice 89-94 Nissan Maxima-one of the few Nissans I've ever liked.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Posts: 414
    Anybody wants to give me 10 grand for my '90 Maxima SE please contact me right away. I wasn't planning to sell it, but if I was, I think I'd be lucky to get half of that. I guess maybe a '94 might approach $10K.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think the topic was really driving at finding interesting cars for $10K or less. For every practical Camry, a car enthusiast needs a "toy car" to play with.

    Trying to predict "collectibility" is kind of a madness, because there are people who buy what they think will be a collectible and lock it up and not use it. In most cases, this turns out to have been a bad idea. By the time you buy, store, insure and protect say a 2000 WS-6 Firebird in the hope that someone will pay big money for it in 20 years, it seems hardly worth all that effort. I'm a big fan of buying a "collectible car" and using it up, like god intended. Maybe if it were a one-off, LeMans winning Ferrari super racer, I'd attempt to preserve it for history, but a 57 Chevy? Nah, go drive it and let yourself and everyone else enjoy it on the road.

    Let's see, if $10K were burning a hole in my pocket right now (I have the burning hole but not the $10K) I'd probably shop for...what?...hmmmm....

    55 Buick two door hardtop
    70s Alfa GTV coupe
    Old Lambretta or Vespa motor scooter

  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    How about a wheel off a '55 Buick? Seriously. I have one I'll deliver, free. It even has the tabs that secure the hubcap. This way you can say you built your Buick from the ground up.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Yes, I had one of those too. Bought it from a neighbor who was moving for something like 300.00. Kept it a couple of years and sold it to someone else for 300.00. Now, I hear they are worth money? I remember it was a 150 cc. Early seventies model.

    Then there was the Cushman Eagle that I gave away...Really!

    Anybody besides Shifty remember the Cushmans?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Was that the three wheeler the Post Office used to use? I knew a guy who tipped one and was seriously burned. Sounds like fun.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I've seen the three wheel meter maid Cushmans. Is Cushman still in business?

    I was talking about the two wheeled models. These were real popular I guess in the 40's and 50's. If yopu type Cushman into a search engine several sites will pop up so you can see what they look like. The Eagles had a two speed shifter on the side of the gas tank with a centrifical clutch.

    But then...Honda came out with the nifty Honda 50's in the early sixties. They looked like a small motorcycle, ran better, were faster and cheaper. This was the beginning of the end for Cushman.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I kind of remember Cushmans but they were over the hill even when I was a kid.

    Yeah, the little Vespas (old ones) are worth "money" if $2,000 is actually money anymore these days.Of course, that would have to be one helluva beautiful little out of the box.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Found some photos of a restored Cushman scooter, red, on the web. Sharp, especially from the rear. There's also a site for Cushman golf carts and small commercial vehicles, so they may still be in business.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    To my eye, when you put them next to the Italian scooters of the day (taken from aircraft design), they look pretty clunky. Obviously, the public thought so too, as they disappeared quickly when the competition heated up. Still, they are unique today and so might appeal to those who like the eccentric things in life.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    This is bizarre! There is an ad in today's Seattle Times for a 1965 Vespa Scooter. Asking 3000.00!

    It's actually an Allstate! Sears used to sell Vespas under their own name.

    They also sold Allstate cars for a couple of years during the fifties!

    They were Henry J's. Imagine that!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Another astounding example of sychronicity! We have to be careful what we talk about around here.
This discussion has been closed.