[V8] Replacing your V8? You may be out of your mind!

Roger M. Woodbury rmwoodbury at downeast.net
Sat Jun 4 08:17:20 EDT 2005

By now everyone knows that I have finally become totally "V8-less" after
hours and hours, and a thousandgizillion posts all hand wringing about
selling it.  I had put a lot of money and time and effort into the car,
bought with 60,000 miles on it from the original selling dealer as a used
car.  I had had the mechanic find that damnable mysterious oil leak, and had
done the timing belt twice as a result and a whole lot of other stuff that
were replaced "while we were in there"...hydraulic pump etc, etc, etc.

The bill for the refurbishment was four grand.  I had paid $14,000 four
years before, and had put just under 40k on the car before it went to a new

Expensive?  Well, maybe, and maybe not.  I NEVER thought of it as a $14,000
used car.  I thought of it as THE car that I wanted, that it was a $60,000
car that I was buying with 60,000 miles on it, and I was going to have it
the way that I wanted it.  Ok.  That was then, and now is now.

My "daily driver" now is a 200 20V Avant with 144K on the clock, and which
has just had a complete "underneath" redo, to the tune of $4,000.  Still to
do is the airconditioning dryer (EVERYTHING else has been done, but the
dryer is crook, too, dammit), a few little gizzies in the instrument cluster
that are not essential nor particularly annoying, a new radio antenna which
is ordered, and then the body restoration...when and if I actually do that.
Total invested today is less than 5 grand on the car, which was bought on
eBay; the $4,000 spent at the wrench's, and some new tires, which were
pretty cheap...relatively.  Oh, yes.  The front end was aligned yesterday,
so that will be another something or other.

The car has a rather special "chip" of some sort, and goes like a....well,
like my 4.2 V8 went, only in a station wagon body, which is precisely what I
wanted to have right now, and more to the point, what I NEED to have right
now:  a comfortable, powerful long distance touring WAGON.  This 20V Avant
is perfect for my mostly, rural Maine driving, RIGHT NOW.

So, you may be thinking that it is time to "move up" to something newer to
replace your now aging V8?  I have read the recent threads about that, and
want to add a big cautionary note to the discussion.  

First of all, you will NOT replace your V8.  You CAN'T replace your V8,
except with another V8.  It's as simple as that.  There are other cars that
will do much of what the V8 will do, and those other cars all offer major
compromises, too, that will qualify whether or not they are replacements for
the V8, or just new, or newer cars to make you feel like you have
accomplished something.  Let's examine your car first.

So, you have 165,000 now on the car.  The body is pretty good, but has
accumulated some road rash, and the rubber gizzies that Audi and all the
Germans like to use are showing a lot of age, especially under the hood.
The car may be needing brakes, and perhaps you are staring the "timing
belt/waterpump/tensioner/hydraulic pump and all that jazz" agony in the
face.  Sounds like a good time to "get something newer".

Ok. So the "newer" something will cost...what...something north of $25,000
at a minimum.  Add in the sales tax and excise tax and increased
registration fees, plus the additional cost of insurance for the 
newer somthingorother, and I'll be before you actually get to plop your
bottom down in those newer seats, you have blown a big hole in $30,000.  

Let's not talk about a Saab that the market nor anyone else wants, as that
is not the same car.  Saab had terrible quality control problems in the
nineties before GM too firm control, but Saabs are NOT V8s.  They are
something else, and might be cheap, but will be equally as expensive to fix
as a V8.

You can talk about a Jaguar if you want.  Step into a dark room someplace,
preferable one that is soundproofed, and talks by yourself.  I don't believe
that Jaguar has made a real car in forty years, and even with Ford's
incompetent management team behind it, a car that has no service facility or
real parts network within three hundred miles of me, isn't a real car that
is in the marketplace.  I realize that if you live in the suburbs of some
major city, you have dealers, but the car will dropyou the ONE time that you
are three hundred and fifty miles from ANYone who can service it or even
knows what it is, so I say that the Jag is not a replacement for the V8.  It
will also be at least at the thirty grand level.

So, my bottom line is that if you sit down and make a detailed list of the
mechanical stuff that are needed on your V8, and put a dollar sign next to
those items, you will probably find that your V8 can be refurbished
gradually, kept in service, and even fully restored with all the niggling
little body dings taken out for waaaaaay fewer bucks that buying a
replacement vehicle.  

Make a list and a schedule that fits your budget.  I'll bet that for the
$400-500 a month car payment you can restore your V8 to the world class car
that it is.  I drive a station wagon that is V8 like, but if I didn't need
the wagon feature, I would still have my '93 V8.


More information about the V8 mailing list