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97 A-4 for $7,800

>(snip, snip)  It's from the "Auto
>Trader" web site.  Area code is Miami, Florida, in case anybody down there
>knows anything about the car.
>7455 OR 305 975 0020 PICTURES AVAILABLE mileage: 7800 email: 
>ecocar@icanect.net, (305) 975-0020.
>Sounds too good to be true.
>Hugh Odom

Price and specs are probably correct - these guys buy and sell wrecks,
usually totals. Understand well that there will be LOTS of work and LOTS of
parts involved in making this car (or any other late model total) whole
again - and you will probably get a title that screams "REBUILT" in blinking
red letters across the top, so the final resale value will be lower.

I'd be vary wary of the statement "minor front damage", though - I've seen a
few cars of this sort, and that phrase means "_everything_ forward of the
back seat is trashed".

These cars are rebuilders or donors for less severely crashed vehicles. I've
seen several late model MB's even a Ferrari in their ads. They have been in
business for some years, so their cars DO sell - but not to the hobby market
(us) - these are for professional rebuilders and specialist parts yards.

HOWEVER - when we go back a few years, as the value of the vehicle declines
(how about plummets?) while the parts proces remain the same (or usually
rise), it takes less damage proportionately to total a car, or render it
uneconomical to repair. There was a discussion about the pending arrival of
late model cars with popped $1,500 airbags being totaled - that will
probably occur. If you are looking for a good deal on a rebuildable wreck,
find one that you (A) already have some parts for (preferably the expensive
parts which was why it was totaled in the first place), (B) know something
about, and (C) actually want to own when you're done, so the answers you
will get from your adding machine can be comfortably ignored.

There are also financing issues here - no bank will lend you money to buy
and fix up a crashed car - they'll say "How do we know you can do it? We
don't want to have to repo a wreck." if you are not already in the body-shop
business - have to be bought for cash, usually.

Personally, I have several times sworn off of "kit" cars, take two and make
one cars, etc., but find myself doing it again anyway - bought my current 86
5Ks, perfect body and interior, blown engine, for $400. Having fixed
EVERYTHING (except the A/C, which I don't like anyway), I have about $2,000
in the car, and get comments like "That's an EIGHTY SIX - it looks like a
NINTEY SIX!" and similar (Thanks, folks!). Additionally, I get to put in
what I want to (CD-player, my choice of tires, etc.), and here's the
absolute BEST part - I am driving a very nice, satisfying, good-looking car
AND THERE'S NO CAR PAYMENT!!!! (That in itself is worth shouting about!)

Best Regards for the holidays,

Mike Arman