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knightfan26917

Car shopping blues...

27 posts in this topic

Over the last week, I've looked at a number of cars as a potential "winter beater" or "winter beater/road warrior"...3 of those on Saturday, November 8. I tend to come across either FWD coupes or RWD sedans. I'd prefer a RWD coupe....

'78 Caprice Classic sedan

...asking $3500

...nice car, orange in color with tan vinyl top, but too good of condition to use as a winter beater, imo.

...not too keen on vinyl tops ... or the vinyl seats it had ... or it being a sedan.

...Possible name = Orange Flame

'89 Caprice Classic sedan

...asking $2500

...nice car on the outside; 2-tone blue.

...appeared to have some leaks into the interior and, when I drove it, the heater started making a very disturbing sound after a few minutes of being on. The sound was a mix between a fog horn and the buzzer on a morning alarm clock.

...Perfect winter beater, for sure ... but, a sedan? I don't have a family....

...Name = Too Blue Bandit

'87 El Camino

...asking $4000

...interesting choice; 2-tone silver/gray. Had some rust (doesn't bother me), but a flat tire and the current owner not having insurance or license plates rendered me not able to test drive.

...seemed to run OK, but he had it running before I got there. AND...as I left, I noticed the windows starting to fog up. Aye.

...Known right away needs ... 4 new tires, windshield washer pump, heater core?, etc.

...Possible name = Gray Ghost

'07 Dodge Charger

...Honda dealer asking ~$16,000 ... 35K miles; silver exterior with the gray/dark gray interior I prefer in these.

...Ironically, this had a flattening tire.... Didn't test drive, but did start the engine. Hmmm...ticking noise in the 3.5L V6. Plus, small stains on the seats. Ugh.

...I like the RWD, but not too keen on the sedan aspect.

...Name = Silver Streak

'06 mc LTZ, FWD, non-flex fuel

...Chevy dealer asking ~$16,000 ... 30K miles (3.9V6); blue exterior, black interior with leather seats (ugh).

...Since this is priced similarly to the newer Charger, that kinda blows Ch#$r%*et's claims that ANYTHING FWD will be cheaper than ANYTHING RWD....

...has the standup spoiler I like...and a sunroof. I know how much Mom and Dad love their sunroof in their Cobalt; I suspect I'd grow to like it, too.

...Yes, I TEST DROVE this one. Nice. Better handling than my former '00 mc LS "Green Hornet", but not as comfy as my '87 MC LS/CL. Speaking of which, the dealer I spoke with could NOT believe my '87 MC LS/CL had been driven in winter since 2003. Course, he also had the nerve to ask if I'd be trading it in....

...Could I go back to FWD? Aye. It is a coupe, though.

...Name = Bruised Bandit

'07 mc LT, FWD, flex fuel

...Hyundai dealer asking ~$13,000 ... 35K miles (3.5V6); white exterior, neutral (tan) interior with cloth seats.

...Haven't seen this one in person, but the pics look good. Standup spoiler I like, too!

...But, again, could I go back to FWD?

...Name = White Lie

Of course ... the cars I'd PREFER are at least a 3-hour drive away ... '77 Caprice coupe, '78 Caprice coupe, '79 Caprice coupe, '86 MC LS, '88 MC LS/CL, inferno red '07 Dodge Charger, red jewel tintcoat '06 mc LT, etc. And, yes, I've considered a used GTO (not really something I want) or even a new Pontiac G8, but that's a dangblasted sedan....

If I buy older ... the car would strictly be a "winter beater". If I buy newer, it would be a "winter beater / road warrior" (i.e. used in winter and for my road trips).

If I buy older, I stay well within my budget for extra insurance (and NO car payments). If I buy newer, I have higher insurance costs AND a monthly payment. Ugh.

Decisions decisions. I know the choice is ultimately mine ... but, what would you do? Choose one of the above ... or keep looking? I believe I have time before the first measurable snowfall, but you never know.... And, actually, I don't HAVE to get another car ... my '87 MC LS has ALWAYS started in the winter, so I'd hate to replace it for year round ... but, if I want it to stay nice (i.e. not much rust), I kinda need to keep it out of the winter....

Cort | 35swm | "Mr Monte Carlo"."Mr Road Trip" | pig valve.pacemaker ... & I approve this post

WRMNshowcase.legos.HO.models.MCs.RTs.CHD = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort

"I'm dying inside" ... The Tony Rich Project ... 'Nobody Knows'

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For me it would be easy. one of the 2 newer Monte Carlos. But alas you dont really like FWD. Pass on the 1978. You said it is too nice to be used for winter and that price seems very high. It would have to be in PERFECT shape. Making it a non-winter beater. Vinyl tops dont bother me since both of mine have them. I dont like Vinyl seats either though.

The 1989 Caprice. Where are the leaks located? The noise you are hearing could be as simple as a bad climate control blower motor. A trip to the autoparts store, about $20 and a half hour of time would fix that. Did it on 2 of my B-bodies. For a beater it sounds good as long as it runs good. Remember it doesnt have to look perfect. How many miles are on it?

1987 ElCamino. Would definatly have to put some weight in the back end otherwise it could be pretty light in the snow.

something about that picture doesnt add up. The fact you couldnt test drive it. If it needs a heater core that wouldnt be the end of the world. Remember, on these cars the heater core is under the hood, not buried under the dash like most cars. But it sounds like it may need work. Again, how many miles and what motor? Washer pump isnt really bad to replace. I did a few of those. They dont seem to last long on these in my expierience. Both mine have been replaced.

2007 Dodge Charger. I still dont trust Dodge after the few various family members have had. Plus buying it at a Hyundai dealer makes me wonder " Why did the owner trade it"? Plus if something is wrong a Hyundai dealer isnt really going to know how to fix it. My sister went through that with her Dodge minivan before she gave up and traded it for a Venture. She has never looked back.

I would try not to worry about the car being a sedan. I dont, and I have always been single. You might find that you like not having those long heavy doors to deal with. A Caprice is still cool no matter if its a 4-door or a 2-door.

If you want my opinion, try the 1989 again, when you hear that noise, change blower motor settings. If the noise changes then thats all it is. Depending on where the water leaks are a cauking gun may be your best friend. Fixed the trunk leaks on the Bonneville that way. Temperary fix but it does work.

Good luck to you and let us know what comes of this.

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My first reaction reading your post was WOW...those old beats are pricey. Either they're showroom little old lady cars with teen miles, or I'm missing something. None of those, unless rare or unique (and even then...) are worth it today, from my ex B/D body driving perspective. Tanks of cars, but still.

Then the massive jump to almost news for many times multiple the price. You really wouldn't go "wrong" with any of those choices, it just comes down to when you're spending that much...you want it to be for something you really WANT, not just "eh, it fits the target".

So that's my biggest thing...you said winter beater, but if you're considering anything from pricey antique dinosaurs to typical lightly used new'ish cars, what's the real goal? How long will you keep? Something to become the new daily, essentially, when weather is bad, etc.?

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Winter beaters I always thought were under $500 (or $1000 to adjust for inflation). My brother used to do that in Ohio, getting a new rusty junker every year.

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If you can live with FWD buy the Monte at the Chevy dealer and never look back.

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My take:

Quit torturing yourself by looking at FWD Montes! You've been there, and done that - with negative results.

The Camino is way overpriced.

The leaky Caprice makes more sense than the rest of the listed cars, but it might make more sense to get a newer car that is roadtrip worthy.

For a car that meets all of your criteria, there aren't too many options out there. My vote would be for a low-mileage 2002 F-body (best bang for the buck), or a GTO (a car that will make you love it). Either choice will net you a very nice car for a very nice price. Failing these, you could look at Mustangs or BMWs. Ther really isn't much else that fits the bill.

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Winter beaters I always thought were under $500 (or $1000 to adjust for inflation). My brother used to do that in Ohio, getting a new rusty junker every year.

That's what I always thought...for this, it sounds more like a daily grind driver, especially the newer ones.

The old ones are WAY, WAY to pricey. If anything and you want to go tank-like, you could have a B/D body from the 90's with the same guts but a much better drivetrain, interior, etc. and still stick to the same price or lower. And Camino had some cool ideas^^. Otherwise, with the new ones, that's a whole different ball game and you don't seem hot to trot on any of them at all for the massive price difference.

Edited by caddycruiser
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90's Caprices can be had for a song if you know where to look. I cant think of many better road trip vehicles, you could sleep in one.

Just a quick Craigslist search reveals a '94 with 144k for $1400 (the pics are small, doesn't look like the body is in fantastic shape) and a '91 with 134k for $2500. There is also an '89 Caprice wagon with a 455 for $5495. This '76 might be more up your alley.

But if you're looking for an actual winter beater and nothing more, a '94 Escort would work pretty well. This particular one needs work, but Escorts are cheap to buy and run for a few months.

KF, how about another MC? Maybe a '74 with pretty low miles.

Edited by Satty
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If you're looking for something newer/road trip worthy go for a G8, Charger, or GTO.

If size doesn't matter what about a Sky or Solstice? I hear they depreciate pretty bad, which is good if you are looking to buy.

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Does it have to be a car? How about a 2WD S10 or S10 Blazer? Non 4x4 versions can be had for a song, and they're pretty easy to fix. Those can serve both your purposes and give about the same MPGs as any of the older cars in your initial post.

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Thats a good thought too if you can be into trucks also. That doesnt seem to be the case though. Are there any of the Caprices Brothers and sisters for sale? The Buick LeSabre, The Oldsmobile Delta 88, The Pontiac Parisianne/1981 and older Bonneville-Catalina? Maybe the 1984 and earlier Olds 98 or Buick Park Avenue/Electra? These can be found in 2-door form if thats super important to you.

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Hmmm...it appears the '78 Caprice sedan i saw earlier is probably sold....

BUT, another option has entered the picture. I hope to go see it sometime next weekend (amid getting the older 4 MCs out, of course). In the meantime, the details....

'78 Buick Riviera

...asking $3400

...from the pics, great exterior and interior; 2 tone tan

...according to the owner, only one rust spot (not an issue for me)

...the owner had been using it as his daily driver

...the list of options seems wonderful to me, and from what he's shared, sounds like a perfect daily driver/winter car....

...RWD and a coupe ... but has a vinyl top

...Possible name = Golden Glory

The 1989 Caprice. Where are the leaks located?

I couldn't quite tell ... just felt water under the driver's side seat when I went to move it up (power seats).

Mileage ... under 100K, iirc.

So that's my biggest thing...you said winter beater, but if you're considering anything from pricey antique dinosaurs to typical lightly used new'ish cars, what's the real goal? How long will you keep? Something to become the new daily, essentially, when weather is bad, etc.?

The goal depends on what I buy. As I mentioned in my original post:

If I buy older ... the car would strictly be a "winter beater". If I buy newer, it would be a "winter beater / road warrior" (i.e. used in winter and for my road trips).

I plan to keep this as long as possible ;).

Quit torturing yourself by looking at FWD Montes! You've been there, and done that - with negative results.

LOL! Yes, I know ... but, dammit...I like the styling changes for the '06 and '07 models ... even though those are STILL LUMINAs.... ;).

The Camino is way overpriced.

*nods*

I know.... I couldn't believe it when I saw it in person...lol.

The leaky Caprice makes more sense than the rest of the listed cars, but it might make more sense to get a newer car that is roadtrip worthy.

For a car that meets all of your criteria, there aren't too many options out there. My vote would be for a low-mileage 2002 F-body (best bang for the buck), or a GTO (a car that will make you love it). Either choice will net you a very nice car for a very nice price. Failing these, you could look at Mustangs or BMWs. Ther really isn't much else that fits the bill.

Thought about a Mustang, but not sure I want a Ford ;).

And, yeah, a newer car would make more sense ... to be road trip worthy, too.

90's Caprices can be had for a song if you know where to look. I cant think of many better road trip vehicles, you could sleep in one.

Just a quick Craigslist search reveals a '94 with 144k for $1400 (the pics are small, doesn't look like the body is in fantastic shape) and a '91 with 134k for $2500. There is also an '89 Caprice wagon with a 455 for $5495. This '76 might be more up your alley.

KF, how about another MC? Maybe a '74 with pretty low miles.

Hmmm...that MC is an interesting choice. I also like that '76 Caprice, but it is a bit big ;). I'm not fond of the '91 and up Caprice bubbles....

CL is about the only thing I search these days ... but, sadly, most of the deals I find for cars I really want are 3+ hours away...irony rocks ;).

Does it have to be a car? How about a 2WD S10 or S10 Blazer? Non 4x4 versions can be had for a song, and they're pretty easy to fix. Those can serve both your purposes and give about the same MPGs as any of the older cars in your initial post.

True. I've thought about the Blazer. Heck, one of the vehicles I didn't mention (because I ultimately did not check it out in person) was a silver '06 Colorado.... Still, I've never been comfortable driving a bigger SUV/truck....

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Found out today (Tuesday, November 11) that the '06 mc LTZ and the '07 mc LT have been sold.....

BUT ... may've found something in this area to compete with the '78 Buick Riviera ... and I've been exchanging Emails with the owner....

'78 Caprice Classic sedan

...asking $1,400

...from the pics, exterior looks great; I'm told the interior has some issues; light blue with vinyl top

...in the family since new

...80% of 100K + miles were highway

...repainted and headliner replaced, 1995

...stock 305 V8 2bbl, well maintained

...RWD, but sedan

...Name = Blue Bandit

Oh...and for those concerned about an older car through a winter, consider this:

I paid around $5K for my '87 MC LS/CL in 2003. I have driven it in winter starting in 2003-2004. It has ALWAYS started in winter. My 2 brand new cars, for which I paid a combined total of over $40K easily and are LONG gone, can NOT claim the same thing.

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Thats almost a carbon copy of my 1979 though that was an Impala. That price sounds more reasonable though you'll have to see whats wrong with it. Like I said, I myself dont have a problem with my 2 being sedans. And I am single and probably forever at the rate I am going. Good luck.

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I would go with a 04-06 GTO it would be perfect for you. RWD decent fuel economy and they drive great! Having said that a 06-07 Monte Carlo SS with a 5.3 would be a blast. I drove one and torque steer and all it was charming the front tires would just light up. It was amusing its own way. Sounds like you value a coupe more than RWD so I would consider a 06-07 Monte Carlo, 04-06 GTO and a 1998-02 F-body. (For the record I am considering getting one for my son to drive and me to play with on the weekend because we need an extra car, although I am only doing a 3800 in mine.)

Edit...

What about a G6 GT Coupe, I know Caddycruiser some bad luck, but they look great have a decent power the torquey 3.5 and are on the Epsilon platform as well.

Edited by gm4life
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Edit...

What about a G6 GT Coupe, I know Caddycruiser some bad luck, but they look great have a decent power the torquey 3.5 and are on the Epsilon platform as well.

Yeah, I had a freak occurrence, but I really loved that car and they're good deals used, generally. The 3.5L with the specific GT sport gearing and such is a monster, surprisingly, and the Epsilon chassis much more refined than a W-body, etc. But, still, a "new" car, any way you snap it. But if you want a new GM that has a look and cool feel, layout, etc. it's a fun package. Every time I see one on the road--coupe only, not the blah sedan--I still look. Still miss it, even though it can't compare to the 'Bu, in most ways.

But I also still miss that "something" about my RWD LT1 Fleetwood, in ways I never imagined even after having new cars at 6x the price. Those are just great cars for cheap brama bull comfort, reliability, power, etc.

As it's turning here, since the "I WANT ONE" doesn't seem too powerful, maybe a $1500 or so winter beater in better than beater shape would be the ticket.

Edited by caddycruiser
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my dad would unload his 92 seville for the right price, since he bought his 02 DTS. something like 75k miles on it. 4.9 v8 i think. its in good shape i think. aside from him wanting enough so i can't buy it as a beater, ............

Edited by regfootball
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Could try that Cort.

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I would go with a 04-06 GTO it would be perfect for you. RWD decent fuel economy and they drive great!

I keep going back'n'forth on whether or not I want a GTO.

I like the RWD and the coupe and even the styling.

I don't like that the only option is leather seats...never have liked leather seats. 'Spose I could throw some seat covers on 'em...he he.

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I liked the GTO my Dad and I test drove a few years ago. The leather seats didnt even bother me and I usually hate leather with a passion. It doesnt have a huge trunk since they had to redesign it to fit the fuel tank for the U.S. I thought it was a VERY grown up Firebird. My dad had said if he was rich he would have thought about one. I wonder, do they have cars in heaven? Maybe he is driving one right now for all we know. :lol:

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I keep going back'n'forth on whether or not I want a GTO.

I like the RWD and the coupe and even the styling.

I don't like that the only option is leather seats...never have liked leather seats. 'Spose I could throw some seat covers on 'em...he he.

Trust me Cort, just drive one.

Oh, I don't much care for leather either - but in the GTO it was fine and nicely grained. It's not that over-smooth cheap crap that so many leather seats are made from. Those can be very uncomfortable.

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I agree about the GTO, and they are relative steals right now. There's an '04 on eBay right now, no reserve and only 30 minutes left, with 33k miles for $12800.

If you wanted a newer one, an 06 with less than 20k miles can be had for $18-20k.

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GTO For the Win, dude. You have enough old cars, and another "old" car will just compete with your other "old" caqrs for time and attention.

Buy a GTO (for me a six speed is a must, but to each his own) and don't look back. Hell, I like small cars and I am even thinking a GTO would be nice. Plus, newer cars don't seem to rust like older ones.

With proper care, that GTO would last ten years or more.

Again, GTO FTW.

Chris

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Hmmmm....

Well, I will note this ... a certain B/P/GMC dealership I drive by en route home from work has a certain yellow GTO that keeps catching my eye.... With my luck, it'll be a manual. Sorry ... with the commute I have, I'd much rather stick with my auto.....

Hmmmm

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Nothing wrong with an automatic. Thats what I would have too. The one I drove was an auto. I dont think Gustman has ever had a manual one. They were all automatics.

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