Hooniverse Asks- Have You Ever Gotten an Incredible Deal on a Car?

You know the myth- a small ad in the local paper lists a Porsche or muscle car of some sort at an unbelievable price. The buyer calls up the seller, who turns out to be a woman going through a divorce. She says that her soon to be ex has run off with his secretary or something, and has told her to sell his car and send him the money. That’s why it’s such a deal.
Of course, stories like this bleed into the urban landscape, the details changing over the years, but the basic tenets remaining. Taking the leap from myth to reality, has something like this ever happened to you?  Have you ever been the recipient of a deal on a car or truck that seemed to go to be true?

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    I thought I got a great deal, turned out to be a good deal. My current 1996 BMW Z3 was purchased heavily modified. It had basically been converted into an M Roadster except for the fender flares. It had a S52, exhaust system, M front brakes, 17" wheels with upgraded tire size, new top, mostly new interior, new Corbeau seats, lowered/stiffened suspension, M3 transmission, new suspension bushings, working A/C, overall most of the mods were fairly tasteful and done right. The guy wanted $7500 and had to get rid of the car because he was moving from Georgia to Alaska. I agreed to his price on a Saturday evening, left a deposit and aid I would be back Monday or Tuesday with the balance. Seller calls me Monday night to tell me the car is sold to someone else for more money. I DON"T THINK SO! After several heated phone calls I agreed to be there Tuesday with the rest of the funds. This was basically an impulse purchase, I wasn't even looking for a car, my father was the one looking. He told me about this car and how good it was, I showed my wife the Craigslist ad and she said we should get it, I'm not going to turn down something like that. I had to arrange funds through the credit union, hence the delay. I finally got the car, 400 miles later it needed a new engine. Something in the oil system failed suddenly and catastrophically, two severely scored cylinders. Another $2500 or so for another S52 and installation and I'm back on the road for about $10k total. Still much cheaper than almost any M roadster out there, but not the steal I thought I had.

  2. engineerd Avatar

    A strong maybe. My first car was a 1984 Mercury Topaz I bought from my dad for $400. This is probably the best deal. It served me well for almost 3 years before it became too expensive to put power steering fluid, coolant, and oil in it every week.
    My next car, a 1987 Crown Vic wagon, was also a good deal. I bought it from my grandpa for $4000 (about $2000 under Blue Book at the time). Of all the cars I've ever owned, this one was the longest. 3+ years of college, plus a move to Michigan and almost a year out here before it decided to become too unreliable to be daily driver material. I tried drag racing it a couple times at Milan with my times being in the mid-18s and mid-16s (after some weight loss on the car's part). I sold it to a buddy for $400 when he was going through a tough spot. He got it tuned up, drove it for a year until he got back on his feet, then sold it for $400.
    The next string of cars were all bought new on Ford's X-Plan, except my Mustang where I got A-Plan from my soon-to-be father-in-law.
    $400 seems to be a popular price for cars.

  3. Maymar Avatar

    I got a '93 Escort with about 150k kms for $100. It ran great, but having spent some time in Newfoundland, it was a bit of a basket case. Still, I loved that car for the year I had it.
    Although, the friend I got it off of got the better deal. He had bought it off a coworker for $100, and then swapped out the aftermarket cd player into his own Escort.
    I also just got a hand-me-down Hyundai Accent from my parents – it's been well maintained, and it has much lower mileage than my Cavalier, so I guess that's a good deal.

  4. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Wow. Nice score…and at least now you know more about the motor that's in it.

  5. engineerd Avatar

    From what I've been told, most things to come out of Newfoundland are basket cases.

  6. Festiva_Movemnt Avatar

    So I started looking at lots for used Civics, Corollas, Proteges, and even Sentras. Happened upon a Saturn dealer after hearing rumors of a pristine, recently-traded Jetta TDi wagon being present and available. No dice on the oil-burner, but the dealer talked me into at least taking a new Ion out for a spin. I was NOT impressed, especially even after driving around in 9-year-old Civics and Sentras. BUT, there must be something said about the friendliness and non-aggressive nature of the Saturn dealer, because we ended up sitting down to talk about what I was actually looking for, and what my realistic budget for a purchase was ($13k was my ceiling to spend on a car without needing a third job).

  7. Festiva_Movemnt Avatar

    Maybe they found a spliff in the glovebox or something, because when they got back, it was all smiles and an offer to purchase my Subaru for $2,000, which, by my math, was roughly $1875 more than I would have ever paid for it…
    So, this month I will have my 2004 Ion paid off, the first car I've paid for with my own money, and visions of mint, mechanically-sound 1995 Subaru Legacy station wagons dance in my head…

  8. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    I fear I'm 23 hours away from missing out on one:
    Manual 630csi with 3.5L swapped in, currently just over $2k with the reserve met
    eBay, why do you taunt me so…

  9. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    I fear I'm 23 hours away from missing out on one:
    Manual 630csi with 3.5L swapped in, currently just over $2k with the reserve met
    eBay, why do you taunt me so…

  10. lilwillie Avatar

    That is good karma right there. Something had to have happened to you after helping out a bud in need.

  11. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Damn…that's LeMons gold right there.
    …although it's really in that category of cars that I find when searching for LeMons candidates…but would rather just keep as a daily driver.
    Of course, nothing says you can't do both…

  12. engineerd Avatar

    I got A-Plan? I mean, I met a wonderful woman who would become my wife. Yeah, the second one. She would kick me if it were just the first.

  13. joshuman Avatar

    I once bought a parts car for $500. It was a non-running 1986 Jetta GLI. From it I sold enough parts to pay for the car, pay for the parts to rebuild the motor, and other goodies I put into my Jetta coupe. I dumped the shell at a farm where they guy collected them for scrap metal and came out ahead. I did this in 1997 or 1998 and used VW Vortex as my sole parts selling office. To this day I'm surprised I had so many honest transactions where people sent me money and I sent them parts.

  14. CptSevere Avatar

    I have plenty of these stories, such as a slew of Honda 350 twins that were just given to me by people who had them and didn't want them. I'd get them running, ride them, use the other ones for parts, good fun. Good little city bikes.
    My latest killer deal is a '53 Dodge Power Wagon that I bought for $150.00 Ran when parked thirty or so years ago. All there. I have no idea if the engine is frozen or not. Unfortunately, it needed to be hauled into a shop and put up on jacks and methodically gone through, and I have no access to anything like that. Fixing it in place wouldn't have been practical. I sold it back to the family I bought it from for what I had in it, it had been their Dad's and was their favorite lawn monument. Thought of him when they looked at it. Oh well, it's still there. If they ever decide to sell it again I'm easy to find.

  15. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I have a good track record buying leftover Honda motorcycles for about half price:
    – I bought a brand new '89 Honda GB500 (MSRP $4300) in 1991 for $2300
    – I bought a brand new '82 Honda FT500 (MSRP $2149) in 1985 for $1140
    – I bought a brand new '81 Honda MB5 (MSRP $798) in 1983 for $398.
    See a pattern here? I'm a frickin' genius!
    What's more, halfway descent used examples of all three of these bikes now fetch more than I paid for mine new.
    Of course, I sold all mine at a loss.
    I'm a frickin' idiot.

  16. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    My first car ever, bought a VW Super Beetle for $450. (I was 14, and never got to drive it off of the street that we lived on)
    Was introduced to "Recycled Bugs" aka "Parts Place" and J.C. Whitney with that car.
    Did a few things to it, including, of course, floor board rust repair, and sold it when I was 15 for $600.

  17. LTDScott Avatar

    I think the closest I could say would be our LeMons ride. $400 for a good running 325e. Changed the timing belt / water pump / hoses and drove it from San Jose to San Diego in January with snow throughout the mountains. Not a single problem.

  18. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    The Jeep I found for 10k w1th 30,000 miles, in six years. Wifey's Vibe I found for 4k. Both are very good and very paid off cars.

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