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Lookin' for a 'new' car

Hi all,

The recent attempted break-in and last July's accident have left my car
(1988 80) looking decidedly below average. I'm getting sick and tired of
looking at the matt-black hood (complete front-end respray and
straightening costs $750) and the headlights which are badly out of
alignment. Besides that, it's time for two new tyres ($125) and new front
struts ($250) and a host of other trivial but expensive items. I've been
driving this car for two and a half years now, and have taken it from 153k
km to 216k. The engine's OK apart from intermittent rough idle (could just
be due to worn engine mounts?) and fuel economy is reasonable for a car
this size.

However, it might be time for a change. Two trains of thought:
-get a _really_ cheap VW, like an early Golf or Jetta II (83-on), and spend
a little money on it to make it look OK and replace some items.
Pros: not too much money tied up in car, relatively fun to drive even with
low power, cheap to run and insure, not to mention replace if things go
Cons: not an Audi.
-get an early Audi 80, 1.3 or 1.6 of early-80s vintage. Pros: cheap to buy
and insure, unbreakable, the 'Audi feeling'. Cons: not as cheap to run as a
VW, no streamlining at all, v_e_r_y s_l_o_w.
-get something a little more fun to drive not to mention to look at, like a
Coupe GT. Pros: that glorious 5-cyl engine, still looks good, goes like the
clappers (at least when you're used to a 1.8 I-4), relatively cheap to buy
Cons: fuel consumption (pretty steep here), insurance (high value when
new), expensive to maintain.

I've looked at two cars today which might fit the bill for the last
category (nope, unfortunately that beaut of an '88 V8q, at $12,5k, didn't
fit the bill).
The first is an 1983 Coupe GT 5E, flat-front but with the large headlights,
recent German import, asking price just marked down to $1500 (high!).
Colour: light bluish-silver metallic, slight evidence of repair/respray at
the back, 130k km indicated but blue cloth seat covers and mats threadbare
(hideous aftermarket seat covers), condensation in both headlights and
inside of all windows. Looks good on original alloys, one front turn signal
lens gone, four mediocre tyres. OE Sunroof (leaking?) and headlight
washers. I didn't hear it run because no-one cared to help me. It smelled
musty inside and the dash had been hacked about a bit.

The second was an '86 Coupe GT, 275k km indicated, another recent German
import, with front-end damage. Seller claimed handbrake had slipped off and
car ran into gate, but one chassis leg was severely bent, one front fender
gone, driver's door, hood, bumper cover (although it looked quite OK) and
headlight gone.
Interior near-perfect, although it had been standing for two weeks it
started instantly with a lovely I-5 rumble and no lifter rattle. $900 as-is
(a bargain!) or double that when repaired, resprayed and tested. No
condensation or musty smell in this one, driver's seat had one neat patch
and rest of interior was perfect. Front discs (drums at rear?) were
surface-rusted. Colour was very light goldish beige metallic (Gobi?).
Original sunroof, aftermarket alloys not to my taste. No headlight washers
on this one. No rust, dents or scratches apart from the accident damage,
car looked honest and well cared-for in every respect. Seller looked a bit
dodgy, though.

Anyone care to comment on these cars? Am I crazy for looking at cars with
such high fuel consumption when I pay four times more than people in the US
do for fuel? What fuel kilometrage am I likely to get with these cars
anyway? God, I love that I-5 rasp...



PS Happy New Year everyone!

 Tom Nas                                          Zeist, The Netherlands

    They all laughed at Albert Einstein. They all laughed at Columbus.
          Unfortunately, they also all laughed at Bozo the Clown.
                                      -- William H. Jefferys