[V8] Buying Used Cars

Conrad Spens conrads at wwdb.org
Sun Dec 18 02:01:53 EST 2005

Its been fun reading different folks perspectives on buying used cars, and
what the best approach  might be.  I own and work in a restoration shop
specializing in early Porsches and Jags.  When buying for myself, or advising
my customers who seek perfection, I always advise them to buy the worst
complete and structurally sound car they can find.  After all, if you're heading 
for a high end car, anything that isn't perfect has to be redone.  So why pay for it
twice?  If the interior isn't perfect, you'll be replacing it, so why pay for a good 
one?  If the engine isn't exactly what you want, get one that's run out, since you'll 
be completely rebuilding it anyway.

You have to look at your skills and interests before deciding what level to buy at.
If you can't do a thing, and it's always off to the shop, the best car you can find is
the way to go.  But if you can do much yourself, have some friends in the industry
who can help, etc. buying a bit of a beater can save you a lot of money.  And buying
a project lets you pay as you go, eventually ending up with a better car than you
could have afforded had you needed to pay for all of the value up front.

As well stated earlier, the vast majority of V8s- the 1990 and 1991 cars, are now
well into middle age or better, and are going to need attention.  Sure, that rare jewel
is out there, but at a real premium, and probably in the hands of an owner who knows the
costs and rarity associated with what he has.  Fewer and fewer screaming deals are
going to come along as time moves forward.  I bought my V8 5 speed out of the Midwest,
2000 miles away, even though I didn't want a Midwest car.  But how many choices did
I really have with probably less than 50-60 still on the road?  Soon the situation won't be 
much different for the automatics- almost all will be wrung out, and the focus will change to
the best way to sleeve the blocks, what pistons can be made to fit, etc.

If these cars are what you want to focus your car hobby on, then get started with what
you can.  And either learn more diverse and in-depth skills, or get a second job to pay
for it!  The situation is very similar to that which existed for the early Porsche 928S-
a semi-rare, interesting, and very difficult/expensive car to maintain.  Their values have
finally started to climb.  Let's hope the same happens for early Audi V8s- they can't go
much lower!  Cheers.   

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