Hooniverse Asks: What Crazy Expensive Used Car Model Do You Just Not Get?

Porsche’s 914 was for years derided both for its – let’s call it unique – styling, as well as its inability to meet the purist’s definition of what a Porsche should be. I’m guessing that it’s detractors have worked out their issues with the mid-engine targa because both demand and prices have within the last couple of years skyrocketed.
When some cars gain a following, it’s plainly obvious the reason why, whether it be a limited supply or an excess of demand. The thing of it is though, it’s not always obvious what exactly it is that’s generating that demand. Seriously, some old cars seem to command big bucks for no apparent reason other than that you can’t buy a new one any more.
What we want to find out today is what cars and trucks you think are unnecessarily inflated in value. Is there one or more the demand for which you just don’t get?  What expensive car model do you think ought to be tons cheaper?
Image: Yugoparts.com


  1. My issue is mostly with Volkswagens.
    Westfalias are one thing, and the pricing there is just absolutely crazy, but then the B4V TDI Passat Wagons.
    Currently 25 bids, over $7k and it has 192k on the odo. And they all go for this kind of money.
    I mean I get it, 45+ mpg with a 26 gallon tank makes for impressive zombie-apocalypse survival, but wow.

    1. To your first comment, with the price that Westies command, I think a lot more folks would own them if a company came out with a modern, affordable mini-RV. $30-40k would be a lot easier to swallow if you were getting a modern drivetrain, safety, and (hopefully) reliability, but that price for an ancient VW? Can’t abide!

    2. I see I’m 36 minutes too late to the party, but I’d add Type 2s to that list as well. Granted more collector market than used car market, but $200k plus for a 23 window bus? Insanity

    3. Yup, 90’s VW’s seem ridiculously overpriced. I have been fantasy shopping for Corrado’s every so often but it seems that every wear-and-tear only 150k mile example is going for $7k+. I really want one, but at that price I just can’t justify it!
      I am almost ready to swing back to BMW 318ti’s instead.

  2. Jeep Wranglers, particularly 90s and newer. I look on craigslist right now, and I spot a 200k-mile ’97 with the 4-cylinder, soft top, minimal mods, and ragged interior. Price? $8200. He probably won’t get that, but even at $6k…
    First, they’re extremely common — Jeep’s various parent companies have built as many as they could sell over the decades. Second, apart from the pavement queens that Jeep has decided to offer the public in recent years, most of them are ridden hard and put away wet, and they aren’t exactly paragons of reliability to start with. Third, while they are capable off-roaders, they’re pretty miserable as daily drivers (with the exception of aforementioned pavement queens), so they’re often relegated to weekend vehicle.
    What gives??
    All that said — I love Jeeps. I’d love to own one. But I can’t look at a 1989 4-banger with 235k on the ticker and think it should command more than $2k (asking price $4k).

    1. Wranglers and OG Cherokees seem to hit a floor around $5k. I bought my ’01 Cherokee for $5k four years ago with 120k on the clock. It now has 165k on the odo and I could easily get $5k for it today.

      1. 2WD Cherokess can be had for much less, like $1500 around here. 1st gen Grand Cherokess can be had for $3500 for 4X4 versions around here, much less for 2WD versions.

        1. I’ll clarify…4WD XJ Cherokees hit a floor around $5k. You can find some for less every now and then, but it’s not uncommon to see these around $5k regardless of age/mileage/rust. 2WD Cherokees don’t command as many greenbacks because 2WD. Grand Cherokees are a completely different animal with a depreciation curve only a Range Rover can be jealous of.

          1. I bought my Cherokee for 1500… then again it was 8 years ago, before Cash for Clunkers, had 240k on it, was a ’91 and I live in the northeast where they were everywhere.

      2. Yep. My first Cherokee, a gift from my parents, cost them $6100 in 2004. Five years later, when I rolled it in a grasslands (Don’t ask) insurance payed out $4000. 4x4s, particularly Wranglers and Cherokees, do have a depreciation floor. The main reason used Wranglers are priced so high is probably because there simply isn’t an alternative; Wranglers are currently one-of-a-kind. Furthermore, Jeeps, by and large, are actually reliable, especially the old ones with the straight-six.

      3. It seems like the Cherokee floor is lower in Canada, $3,500 seems to be the going rate for one, whatever the year or KMs. Still more than Grand Cherokees though.

  3. Even taking into account the “Initial D tax,” there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON an AE86 should be worth more than an FC3S in similar condition.

    1. This is why my drift fantasies, if they are ever brought to fruition, will be fulfilled by a ratty Ferd Ranger with a 302/T5 and a rear locker.

      1. If the day comes I decide to join my drifting friends I will be piloting a 240. A Volvo 240.

        1. If you’re going that route, may I suggest a 740? No hipster tax like the 240s often carry (plus, I’m hoping the remaining OG Brick stock remains as unmolested as possible, at least until I find my next one).

          1. So you’ve budgeted for that hipster tax, then – it’s even higher on a 245 than a 244. And it goes up again if you demand a flathood front end.

        2. What about a W123 240? I’m sure you could convince it to get sideways… on ice, perhaps. Or if V8-swapped for maximum WTF-ness.

  4. I understand why Defenders demand higher prices here than they do in Europe. However, the prices are starting to fall now that more and more are hitting the 25 year rule and can more easily be imported. Still, there are some crackpipe prices out there. I get it. They’re awesome and I drool uncontrollably whenever I see one, but no 20 year old Defender on this planet is worth north of $100k.

    1. There’s one in a neighborhood I often jog through. It’s a 110, making it even more scarce.
      Sadly, I have never seen it move. Weeds grow around it. It appears to have KS plates, but it’s parked far enough back on the property that I can’t make out whether they’re current.

    2. Saw one, tattered and faded, in San Diego at a coffee shop and my wife said something like, “Hey, you should get one of those.” I told her that the one in front of us was worth at least $50k and she laughed at me.
      Then a youngish couple came out and headed for it. They get to the front of the Rover and my wife says, “Excuse me. Do you mind if I ask how much a car like that is worth?”
      Man turns red and looks at his shoes. Woman’s head pops up, says “I wanted a swimming pool. We got this instead. How much was it, babe? Sixty two?” Man never said a word. Just got in and turned the key.
      And. It. Wouldn’t. Start.
      Woman went apeshit. We may’ve facilitated a divorce accidentally.

          1. Also, the Tatra–don’t know what I’d do with it but I want it.

      1. I was too slow. I was looking up another one to add, I seemed to remember the last time I looked not being able to find a 1973-1991 4×4 Suburban for under $8,000. A quick Criagslist scan shows sane prices now.

        1. Yeah, I noticed prices for Defenders are starting to come down now, too. There are a lot under $30k now especially since more and more people are importing 25+ year old examples to the US.

          1. I love them, and they are nice, but they aren’t worth 5X the price of an old Blazer, Bronco, or Wrangler. Especially since they probably cost 5X as much to maintain. Even stranger nice Range Rovers and Discoverys can be had for around $5000.

    1. E30 M3s? Rarity (fewer than 20k of the millions of E30s produced were M3 models), and collector value as the first M3.
      Original Rover Minis? Rarity, again — unless you’re in, Great Britain, I assume.

    1. I would love to have a tractor about that size. With a little over 3 acres, it would be really useful for so many things. I guess I’ll have to be content to try to get the old Massey-Ferguson 135 diesel that has sat dormant for 20+ years back in operation. I need to cut down a few trees to get to it to work on it.

    2. While probably older than that, I’ve actually heard that old tractors and farm equipment have skyrockted in demand and price the last decade. My understanding is that with all the fancy electronics on new machines, only the dealer can service them since only they have the proprietary software/interconnect. Farmers don’t like this since they used to self-service all their tools.

      1. Had this very conversation with a farmer relative last week end. He keeps several tractors on farms all over the county. He said, “I’d probably save money on down time if I bought the newer stuff but then I’d have to pay the implement dealer to fix it.”

    3. Well, there is that price premium for the green paint & yellow wheels…
      (Though the same economics probably happen for the blue or red ones I prefer. No matter what brand, a small tractor is a great tool for a rural home or farmyard.)

        1. Hemmings, huh? There’s your problem. The only place where prices are ballooning more than at Hemmings is at Barrett-Jackson.

          1. Those don’t seem to be out of line from what I’ve seen elsewhere. The only one I could find on Auto Trader is from a private party who’s asking 8 grand for one with 140K on it, which is a lot more than those listed on Hemmings. In any case, I’ve always liked Allantes and thought prices would have come down into the “cheap fun car” sphere by now, so I have been trolling for them. Prices are still much higher than I would have ever expected.
            Used 1993 Cadillac Allante
            EDIT: fixed Auto Trader link.

    1. My wife is Polish but we live in Ireland where people will happily can pay €2000 upwards for a decent one, and she can’t understand why I’d like one or why classic car enthusiasts would bother. The difference is that for me, these cars are distant nostalgia, and we can enjoy their charm because we’ve never actually had to drive one day to day, even pre-boom, living standards in Ireland weren’t that bad, most families could afford something a bit more civilized and roomy like a Toyota Corolla, European Ford Escort or similar. For her though and countless Polish people who are barely 30, they have memories of having to do long road trips squashed into the back of one of these. They haven’t got the distance from the reality of living with them as a daily yet to be nostalgic about them!

  5. Perhaps not ‘crazy expensive’ but for me, the Triumph TR-6’s are consistently overpriced. I love the look, yeah, but they really aren’t very good cars. British Leyland build quality,with early 50’s engineering, and Lucas electrics tossed in (literally) to put the icing on the cake. Yet you consistently see them priced at 15 to 20 thousand dollars.
    Perhaps I’m biased (Hell yeah I’m biased) because I think my 71 Alfa Spider is a better car in every way than a TR-6, but prices on TR-6’s are consistently higher than on a Spider.

    1. For any car under $20k, I have to compare it to the Focus ST.
      Yes- you can still find STs for less than $20k which is a steal.
      Someone at my work has a yellow Beetle with the dogdish cap and black wheels. Looks really nice.

    2. As an owner of a ’72 Super I protest! That’s not a Beetle. Beetle is aircooled. This is a piece of trash Golf with a silly body.

      1. In before someone with a standard Beetle comes in and says the same thing about your Super…
        I hear ya, though. I kind of dig the new Beetles, even if they are somewhat…cynical.

  6. A coworker went to a Honda dealer with an ad in his hands for a 2 year old Accord with 30,000 miles. He ended up buying from the same dealership a brand new (prior year leftover) Accord at a higher trim level. He paid $2k less than the used car.

    1. Leftover last-year stock often gets hefty incentives from the manufacturer. It’s very common with pleasure vehicles like motorcycles. I bought a brand-new 2012 Honda CBR250R in May 2013 and got $600 on the table from Honda. On a $3799 MSRP bike, that was a hefty discount.

    2. I have seen this a lot. If you are looking for used cars that are at most a few years old, you cross-shop against new ones. And new ones win a lot!
      This is less true for high-end luxury vehicles, but very much the case for bread-and-butter compacts and mid-size sedans.

      1. And pick up trucks. I cold have gotten a fairly nicely equipped 3-4 year old model with 50k miles for MORE than my brand new base model.

    3. You can find a similar situation with full size trucks. I bought a 2WD extended cab Silverado BASE model WT V-6 in 2011. In 2013 LOAN value was still more than I had paid for the truck two years prior. GM had lots of rebates in 2011.

  7. NA Miatas. I guess they were disposable 10 years ago because anything decent is $5,000 or more. That’s a lot for a toy/project car. Yes, you can find cheaper but you’re then going to have to throw several thousand into making it actually drivable.

    1. I still want to get one of these and keep it looking fairly stock, but throw every MG/BMC/Spridget tuning trick at it that I can. Maybe a supercharged 1800 B series engine.

  8. Aircooled 911s. Jeezus, the prices have become certifiably insane. I helped my neighbor sell his completely trashed ’73 that hasn’t moved in 8 years and there was a fight going on on Craigslist over it. Buyer ended up driving from SD to SF with a trailer to pick it up.
    Now I want one too but looking at prices I ended up with the aforementioned 914. It’s a great fun car but it just doesn’t scratch that itch for a 911.

  9. Pined for an old Westfalia (I Had a 72 back in the day); wife pined even more so. I showed her a $35K example and took a trip back to memory lane–blown up engines, poor to no heat, and 16-17 mpg with not much motor pushing a lot of stuff. Instead I bought the VW Camper of today: 2014 Winnebago ERA Class B on MB Sprinter chassis. So far 18-20 mpg turbo diesel. Air, heat, Bluetooth, head, shower, surround–and beautiful forged Alcoa wheels. Set the cruise at 80. It cost about 2 1/4X of that Westy. It is going out on its maiden camping voyage tomorrow.

  10. I understand it, but the prices that well used WRX’s are fetching is truly remarkable.

    1. Agree 100%. When i show up to a supra meet in my mk2 and hear the mk4 guys talk about how they got a great deal on one for 40k and i’m like what? At that point Toyota had figured out rust proofing, earlier ones are more rare in decent shape and even the nicest ones rarely go over 10k.

  11. Old beater Civics. When shopping for cars for my daughters the last few years, I found that $2K bought a nice 110K mile 14 year old Escort for daughter #1 and then a 127K 12 year old Protege for daughter #2. The same money in a Civic was at least 15 years old and well over 200K miles. I don’t understand.

      1. I’m of the opinion that Mazda is currently building a better car dollar-for-dollar than Honda and Toyota combined.

  12. Toyota 4Runners, especially those not of the current generation. A year or 2 ago, I stopped by our local Toyota dealer to look at a 2002 that they had on their lot, listed at $6,999; if I remember correctly. Once I got in, I discovered that it had 199,000 miles on it, and according to the salesman, “it’s due for a timing belt, but you could probably use that to knock $500 off the asking price.” I wish I could say that that was an isolated occurrence, but that seems to be the norm. Rav4s aren’t quite as bad, but also seem to be consistently overpriced.

  13. Peugeots. Any Peugeot, really, in North America. It seems like the people selling them haven’t figured out that there’s maybe three dozen of us in the country still insane enough to drive them on a regular basis, yet they’re priced ridiculously high and aren’t being well-cared-for anymore.
    Also, Subaru Brats. I’m well aware of the rust issues leading to survivability rates on them being low, but parts are getting scarce for EA-81 Subarus in some cases – and have been for some time. Four years ago I needed a vacuum advance unit for my ’86 Brat and had a hell of a time finding anything other than a complete distributor (at $400-plus!) until I ran across the one Subaru dealer in New Jersey who happened to have the last one in the US recorded as in stock sitting on a shelf.

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