parkertom

Low Mileage Vehicle Value

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While this is focused on a Craigslist posting, I was thinking of a discussion about a bit more than the vehicle that is for sale.

 

I came across the Craigslist ad below for a 1997 Regal GS. It has less than 10,000 miles. He is asking $10K. KBB lists a value just north of $3,000 for it. At what point does a 20 year old car become not just a used car, but worthy of a higher value? I can't imagine there is a lot of demand for a late 90s Regal to warrant a used car buyer paying that premium. But, I owned a 2001 that was very similar and it was probably one of my favorite modern Buicks that I have owned, making having another low mileage version somewhat interesting, but not THAT interesting at this point.

 

https://annapolis.craigslist.org/cto/d/buick-regal-gran-sport-38/6446833811.html

 

 

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Just for nice, efficient transportation I'd say it is worth every penny of the asking price. A 10,000-mile car is equivalent to one year of use. What would you pay for a one-year-old Buick, similar condition, similar mileage? A lot more than $10,000, I surmise.

For collector interest, it's too new and it is a four-door sedan, so I would not buy it for that reason alone. I would buy it for daily use.

Edited by Pete Phillips
typographic error (see edit history)
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1997 Regal GS was a mid year introduction and this is a very early car #099 .

You could not bring a used Regal GS ( 97 to 2004 ) back to this condition for the money .

Remember, this is 20 years old and you could run antique tags on it in many states.

Bill

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My fear would be, with so little use in 20 years, you're in for a lot of dry rotted parts and such.  In 2005 I bought a 1986 with only 26k miles on it. Clearly first thing was new tires.  Once I started driving it, everything went wrong.  I had to replace every hose, CV shafts (as the boots had rotted off and left dry joints), transmission rear seal, oil pan gasket, valve cover gaskets, rebuild the carb, new water pump, and then the leather started to come apart.  YIKES!   Sometimes sitting is just as bad on them.

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If a 1997 car has 10k because it was driven 4 miles to church every Sunday for 20 years, it is a much more valuable car than one that was driven 10,000 miles in 1998.   All the variances in between will affect the value accordingly.

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3 hours ago, parkertom said:

KBB lists a value just north of $3,000 for it.

 

I say, never use Kelly Blue Book for used-car prices:

They list dealers' ASKING prices, not selling prices.

Their book gives too-high retail prices and

too-low wholesale prices.  That's why you may have

seen used-car dealer ads promoting "thousands under

Kelly Blue Book."

 

An antique-car dealer friend of mine said he figured

10% or 20% more for a low-mileage car.  But also be aware:

many low-mileage cars look great but aren't especially

reliable, according to an article written by noted author

Tim Howley.  Those low-mileage cars were likely idle for

many years, and have a substantial amount of hidden deterioration

(transmission, belts, hoses, seals, tires, exhaust, etc.) that

may need to be addressed.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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I wouldn’t buy this car thinking I could use it as a reliable daily.  Some things fail not because of use, but just because of age.  It would certainly make a nice weekend cruiser, though.  Looks like a turnkey gold at a future nationals meet, too. 

 

My wife was selling Buicks back when this was new (in fact, she sold one just like this to one of my dad’s friends).   I love these cars, but I love ‘80s Regals more. If I had $10k to drop on *another* weekend Buick, I’d probably find something black & turbocharged with T-tops. You can find nice hot air GNs in this price range.  

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A couple of comments from my own experience. First, I agree that at that price the car might best be considered as a daily driver, in which case $10K may not be unreasonable. However, as wndsofchng intimated your $10K car may well not be a $10K car once you've finished attending to the things necessary to bring it up to daily reliability. My experience mirrors his to some extent.

 

Back in October I picked up a 1986 Pontiac 6000 LE with 30,956 miles on it as a replacement for my 2013 Dodge Dart that I put a gazillion highway miles on since new. I've always wanted an older car to use as a daily driver, and the Pontiac filled the bill for many reasons that included the combination of funky looks with semi-modern features such as working A/C, disc brakes, shoulder belts, etc. The car is immaculate inside and out and runs like a top. Paid $2,500 for it. But it's no longer a $2,500 car. Having been a motor head since I was a young child, I knew what I was in for with regard to getting it in shape for my daily 100+ mile commute. I'll spare you the details, but my $2,500 car is now a $4,000 car that I've put nearly 7,000 trouble-free miles on since I bought it, and I haven't looked back. It's not a stylish car, but I'd rather have it for $4K than some new jelly bean that'll set me back $30K or more.

 

To the point as others have made, if you look at it as a daily driver you'll probably end up paying more than $10K in the end, but where are you going to find a comparable vehicle for that amount of money, and with such low mileage and style? Hopefully a very close inspection can provide clues as to how the vehicle was stored over the years and how it was maintained while it was on the road. For example, if the car was driven 500 miles annually as a pleasure car was the oil changed annually, or did it have only one oil change at 7,500 miles and the owner doesn't think it's due until 15,000 (you might be surprised how some people think).

6000LE1.jpg

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In one respect, looking at what $10K will buy on the current used car market, when compared to this "as new" older vehicle for $10K, the older car could be the better deal . . . until you seek to sell it.  The miles will always be lower than normal, getting that premium, but don't consider it as a current model car with such low miles on it, either.

 

The low mileage "church, grocery store, and back" car might have had the pistons going up an down a limited number of times, but the car never got hot enough to cook out the combustion contaminants in the motor oil or condensation out of the trans fluid, etc.  Sitting still might have been a better deal for the mechanicals, UNLESS 3000 mile services were preformed.

 

Hopefully, the car was parked out of the sun!  Although the pistons and such might have limited wear, the other rubber-related items will age "on the shelf" without use, and will need to be replaced   "Daily Driver" has a widely-varying meaning!  For some, a 15 mile commute across town.  For others 100+ miles/day.  In any event, having a car that's not going to coast to the side of the road in a cloud of smoke, in rush hour, is very desirable!

 

Paying $10K for a $3500 vehicle is not a good financial situation.  BUT if this is your "dream car" and you will own it until the wheels fall off, knowing what you're facing with repairs from age and such, then it might be a considered purchase situation.  At one time, I was considering getting a $1K car and sequentially fixing it up, until I found out I could buy similar cars (all day long) in the $3K price range, adding new tires and battery in the process.  So much for "rebuilding".  Having a $3500 car that you've got $5000 in is not good either, but that just means you're "married to it" for a shorter period of time (to get the additional repair costs worked out).

 

These were nice cars, when new, just as the Monte Carlos, Intrigues, and Grand Prix all had their followings (all on the same platform).  They were reliable, durable, and fuel economy was generally over EPA 30mpg on the highway.  The SC3800 Regal GS was 27.

 

 

Kind of like at a swap meet.  You find a great grille for a higher price on one row.  A few rows over, you find one equally as nice for a much more reasonable price (from a motivated seller).  YOUR money.  YOUR desires and dreams.

 

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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ONE thing about the SC3800 V-6s, the supercharger has its own unique internal oil supply.  GM has a special "Supercharger Oil" (bottle) for changing that oil (harder on the earlier ones than on the later models).  Otherwise, when the front bearing might fail, you get a new aftermarket part or a reman supercharger from a vendor (check the Grand Prix or RegalGS forums on this).

 

That engine ran very well, supercharger and all, but horsepower was less than later non-SC GM engines, as things evolved.  The included Grand Touring suspension was great!

 

NTX5467

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With low mileage that supercharger oil should be OK but you can rebuild the front end of the supercharger pretty easily.

I owned 2 Regal GS (all GS models had the supercharged 3800 engine)  great cars that thought they were V8's....but still got very good gas mileage.

If that car was in Dallas I would be all over it.......but Willis would probably already own it.

 

You cannot pay $10K for a car that has a value of $3500 and plan on flipping it........you buy it to keep.

Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
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While it MAY look attractive to you with the low mileage, AND IF there are no MAJOR FAILURES due to inactivity,

THEN the next major consideration should be how you would be compensated WHEN some Yahoo in a Crew-Cab Duallie, busy texting to Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat, runs a stop sign and T-Bones your treasured low-mileage driver.

 

Will his/her insurance company agree that your low-mileage Buick is really worth 3-1/2 times market value?

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Comparing the 162200 mile car with the 10,000..........it only cost 5 cents per mile more to get the lower mileage car. 

Or said another way......for every $1000 more you are will to spend you get 20,000 miles (lower mileage)  in reality, it cannot be linear.

Also 1997 was the first year.......look for a 2007 the last year....more upgrades and now only 11 years old.

Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
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36 minutes ago, Barney Eaton said:

Comparing the 162200 mile car with the 10,000..........it only cost 5 cents per mile more to get the lower mileage car. 

Also 1997 was the first year.......look for a 2007 the last year....more upgrades and now only 11 years old.

I thought that 2004 was the last year.

 

I appreciate all the input on this. I thought it posed an interesting thought on the value of a low mileage vehicle that is 20 years old. My father is a career mechanic and always warned me about the older low mileage Buicks that I would find, being prone to issues from sitting/lack of use. Not to be fully considered equivalent to a one year old car with 10,000 miles. I have had good luck with 10ish year old cars that have about 40,000 or so miles in the past and it seems that it isn't too difficult to find nice Buicks in that condition.

 

If I had the disposable income and didn't have a list of classic cars that I would like to own ahead of it, this would be an interesting car to park and use for pleasure use, not a daily driver.

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Post graduate college business classes around here go for $1500 to $2000 per credit hour. Buy the old car and treat it as a learning experience. I am sure the empirical knowledge will stay with you. Maybe better than a theoretical college course.

Bernie

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Tom you are correct.....I changed my post........2004 was the last year for that series of Regals

In 2009 I purchased a 1991 Reatta with just under 17,000 from the Bulgari  collection

Replaced the original tires and it has been driven to 3 National meets.

I did replace the compressor and condenser before heading to Allentown.

So far no surprises from the car.

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I'm all for driving older Buicks.  In 2013, I bought a '96 Riviera with 51,000-miles ($4,000) and an '05 LeSabre with 28,000-miles ($8,000).  Both have been excellent, and we drive them every day.  I'm now at 130,000 miles on the Riviera, and it is a remarkably pleasant, trouble-free car to drive.   I picked up a '99 Regal for one of the kids last year for $1,700.  It's a great car, especially for the price! 

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11 hours ago, Bloo said:

 

 

Well, if I do the math with the $10k car and the $1500 with 172K on the clock I can assume I should get 172K mils out of the car selling for $10K with 10k miles.  :)    In my experience with a 1960 32k miles Buick Electra all original, the rubber products faired ok.    None really dry rotted.  Mostly not as resilient as new.   IMO, this Buick would be an excellent daily driver for years to come.     

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I am very curious to learn where the Ebay auction for this 2001 Buick Park Avenue with only 16,000-miles ends today.  I think the bidding so far reflects that there are folks who believe that these older, very low mileage Buicks are excellent options for reasonably-priced daily drivers:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/162819700859?ul_noapp=true

 

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2 hours ago, Centurion said:

I am very curious to learn where the Ebay auction for this 2001 Buick Park Avenue with only 16,000-miles ends today.  I think the bidding so far reflects that there are folks who believe that these older, very low mileage Buicks are excellent options for reasonably-priced daily drivers:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/162819700859?ul_noapp=true

 

Didn't meet reserve at $8100.

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By observation, "daily driver" and "daily use" can be highly variable descriptions of use.  Each with their own levels of impact upon the car's body and such.  I highly suspect that most in here might purchase that low mileage older car and treat it with respect and kindness, which it deserves.  Others might pay the same money and run it into the ground, just because they can, treating it as an appliance and little more.  When it "dies", they get another car and go on.  "One nice car" that was used, wadded up, and thrown away.

 

The later Regal became the Lacrosse.  Same car, nicer trim.  This was before the current-style Lacrosse replaced the prior one.

 

When I bought my 2005 Impala three years ago, it was priced at about $4500.00 with 85K miles.  I originally thought of keeping it a few years, then trading for something newer with more ultimate value.  It needed the instrument cluster replaced, but I worked around it until it quit working.  Normal items like the water pump, fuel pressure regulator, and power steering pump needed replacement over the next year of so.  Then the flywheel cracked.  With the engine on the chain, a new oil pan gasket happened, plus the intake gasket issue, while it was hanging there.  8K miles later, the new flywheel cracked so that meant a new torque converter.  Then an ignition coil failed, which was replaced along with the plug wires and plug wires.  Add a 4 wheel brake job, front end alignment, and tie rod ends.  Oh, and an a/c compressor and a/c control module.  The fan is noisy on cold mornings, so that's somewhere in the future.  A good bit of this happened after 150K miles.  Knowing that, getting a car with miles past that might mean that all of the expensive stuff has already been done, by somebody else!  Or I take the $3K "high retail" price and put another $10K with it for a newer car with fewer miles and lots of things that are yet to fail.  

 

One way or another, you're going to spend money.  Just a matter of when and how much.  ONE thing I spent more money on that I might have otherwise, but the set of Michelin Primacy MXV4s have been great!  Makes that ole Chevy act like a Cadillac on the road.  AND after about 100K miles, very little wear.  Good performance in wet and icy conditions, too.  THAT was good money spent well, to me.

 

Sometimes, the owners of these older nicer low mileage cars might set the price at normally "too high" levels to make sure the ultimate purchaser will take care of the car and appreciate it for what it is.  IF you really want it, see if they'll negotiate.

 

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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On ‎1‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 9:04 AM, Centurion said:

I'm all for driving older Buicks.  In 2013, I bought a '96 Riviera with 51,000-miles ($4,000) and an '05 LeSabre with 28,000-miles ($8,000).  Both have been excellent, and we drive them every day.  I'm now at 130,000 miles on the Riviera, and it is a remarkably pleasant, trouble-free car to drive.   I picked up a '99 Regal for one of the kids last year for $1,700.  It's a great car, especially for the price! 

You get great deals on your cars Brian!  :>)

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