Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cheap Craigslist Car: 1986 Cadillac ???

So many things wrong with this ad. What kind of Cadillac is it? If you're just looking to get rid of it, why are you asking $1,200? As scrap you'll maybe get $150, if they're feeling generous.

With a blown head gasket and the shape this car is in, the asking price should be $300. And even then I wouldn't touch it. For some cars, it is truly is their time for the scrap yard.

Cheap Craigslist Car: 1976 Chevrolent Scottsdale Sport

I so often see cars and trucks for sale on Craigslist that I want to make a comment about, that I decided to make it a regular feature of this blog. I plan to do these a LOT. So check back often for my wisdom and insight. Since Craigslist ads expire after a time and I don't want to litter this blog with dead links, I'll simply be posting screenshots of the ads instead of links to them. Most of these ads will be from

This beautiful 76 Chevy pickup is a great example of a very cool older vehicle that simply is not worth very much money . 

Unless the entire vehicle was FULLY restored inside and out, asking $1,200 for this truck with a bad transmission is pure fantasy. The seller will be lucky to get $1,000 for this, and that is entirely dependent on finding that ONE buyer who has another one of these but with a bad body and good transmission. Other than that one very specific scenario, one of these in this condition with a bad transmission should reasonably expect to fetch $300-$600.

Based on the length of time this ad has been up (and the number of times it has been reposted), I'm guessing the seller isn't moving much from his initial $1,200 asking price. "OBO" usually just means "or best offer that is at least 80% of my asking price" until desperation sets in. Then that percentage gradually gets lower, until it reaches "true OBO" status, which is when the seller says "Make me an offer, need to sell this week or it goes to the crusher".

All the Cars, Part 9: 1989 Chrysler New Yorker

Car/Body/Engine: 1989 Chrysler New Yorker / 4-doors, sedan / 3.0L V6 gasoline engine, 141 HP
Features: 4-speed automatic transmission, A/C, FWD, seats 5, electric seats and windows, cruise control
Owned?: yes
Purchased for/from: Bought for $760 from a guy who was selling it to make a down payment on a new car.
Summary: A mid-size sedan built with comfort in mind, powerful and somewhat-efficient V6 engine (gets about 19-23 miles per gallon) delivers power when needed. Low miles (about 79,000), and most of the electronics still work, with a few exceptions.
What I Like: Luxurious ride with comfortable seats, cloud-like suspension, plenty of engine power, and modern conveniences like a cup holder. Cruise control is nice for longer drives.
What I Don't Like: The fuel gauge doesn't work, meaning it is important to keep track of the miles between fillups so as to not get stranded somewhere without gas. Door opening is a little narrow.
What Happened to It: still have it, I drive it 1-2 times per week, or whenever I feel like "treating" myself to a really nice drive.

1988 Ford Festiva, Update: New Color!

I painted it white. It looks good. From a few feet away. Closer inspection reveals from painting flaws, but regardless of the distance it looks much better than it did before.

Friday, September 5, 2014

All the Cars, Part 8: 1988 Ford Festiva LX

Car/Body/Engine: 1988 Ford Festiva LX / 2-doors, hatchback / 1.3L 4-cylinder gasoline engine, 120 HP

Features: 5-speed manual transmission, A/C, FWD, seats 5
Owned?: yes
Purchased for/from: Bought for $700 from a guy in Carson City.
Summary: Peppy and reliable, compact but very comfortable with lots of leg and headroom. 225,000+ miles and counting.
What I Like: Very fuel-efficient vehicle (I get about 33 miles per gallon in town), comfortable, easy to get in and out of, very compact, and very good working A/C.
What I Don't Like: The clutch is VERY finicky and this is by far the easiest manual to kill of all the manuals I have driven. I would like to get the radio and speakers fixed as well, as it currently does not have any form of a working sound system. The paint is bad. Doesn't pass smog because it burns a little oil (and therefore smokes a little), so it is registered as a "classic" vehicle, which means I can only (legally) drive it 5,000 miles per registration cycle. Takes some encouragement to start in the morning (but always starts eventually). The previous owner did a bad job putting some "window shade cling" to the driver's side window and as such it looks bad.

What Happened to It: still have it, its extreme fuel efficiency makes it my most-used daily driver.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Literary Acquirements of Joe's Trip to the Wrecking Yard, Part 2

Mostly deformed index fingers.
Glancing through the Sounds Systems and Electronics supplements to the 1985 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight owner's manual offered a glimpse into what luxury car buyers wanted (or, at least, what Oldsmobile THOUGHT luxury car buyers wanted) in their cars in 1985.

The onboard calculator looked pretty nifty.
The 1980's were a time of rapid growth in the electronics (and particularly the portable electronics) industry, so it only makes sense car manufacturers would want to get some of those sweet, sweet electronics into the dashboards of their cars. The manual showcases several different types of sound systems, including those featuring dual cassette decks, CB radios, and programmable AM/FM. The manual was even kind enough to show those with deformed hands how to operate their systems.

The sales brochure was perhaps the most interesting piece of the '85 Olds Ninety Eight trifecta of documents. Featuring a full-color spread of information and photos, the obvious theme was "luxury, but ALSO high tech!" The piece de resistance of the brochure is a full-color centerfold of the car, complete with a man who could either be YOU, or perhaps your butler/driver.
Probably much sexier before the pages were creased.

Next to the centerfold, a glimpse of the luxurious interior, with plush seats that were sure to please any bottom.
Them's bottom-pleasing cushions right there.
 The pamphlet summarizes that there is a "special feel in an Oldsmobile". Having owned an Oldsmobile of similar vintage, I can verify that this is true. It is a feeling luxury, but luxury that is somehow only surface-deep. Still, it was a "luxury" that I did enjoy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Literary Acquirements of Joe's Trip to the Wrecking Yard, Part 1

Today after work I took a trip to the local Pick-n-Pull "do it yourself" car wrecking yard to see about acquiring some luxury sedan seats for as-yet undetermined purposes. I always enjoy looking through the old cars, wondering what kind of "life" they lived prior to their ultimate fate of being picked to pieces and then crushed into metal cubes.

This will do nicely to hold the documents in my 1988 Ford Festiva.
My search for seats was fruitless, as most of the leather ones were cracked and most of the cloth ones were stained. The two or three seats that DID look very good were unfortunately in cars which smelled as if they'd been in the yard a bit too long and feral cats had discovered how comfortable a 1982 Cadillac Eldorado seat can be.

However, the trip was not altogether fruitless, as I discovered and purchased a few bits of interest. One of these was a mint-condition padded-leather owner's manual cover from a 1990 Cadillac Deville.

I also picked up an original owner's manual, sound system and electronics supplement, and original brochure to a 1985 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, as I am very interested in cars from this era (within and just after what automotive journalist Murilee Martin refers to as the "malaise era" for American car manufacturers, 1973-1983).
Original owner's manual and supplement from 1985 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Regency

In Part 2 of this posting (coming tomorrow), I'll have more pictures and details on some of the contents of the "Sound Systems and Electronics" owner's manual supplement, as well as pictures and commentary on the blast from the past that is the 1985 Oldsmobile sales brochure.