Sunday, February 3, 2013
Here's the best used car for the money!
As all readers of How to be Invisible know, I advise never financing the purchase of a car because (among other things) it makes anonymous ownership impossible. The most frequent complaint I get is, "But I must finance the car because I don't have the cash!" That's often because they want to buy some low-maintenance car such as a Honda or a Toyota. Hondas and Toyotas are great cars--in fact, we currently have threeToyotas--but they aren't cheap.
Two months go, some Mexican friends asked me to help them look for a Toyota with less than 80,000 miles on it. They had $8000 in cash. I suggested they forget the Toyota and buy a Mercury Grand Marquis. "Consumers Report rates them highly, they usually have leather seats, seat six, and get 22 mph on the highway."
The next day I located a one-owner 2001 Grand Marquis on Craigslist with 73,000 miles. It had a few dings and there was a tear in the leather upholstery but it was mechanically sound. They bought it for $2970 and are happy campers.
Last week one of my readers asked me how to get $5000 together as that's what he needed to buy a decent vehicle. I told him to check Craigslist for a Grand Marquis. Within two days he located a one-owner 2000 model with 83,000 miles. "Asking price is $2500," he said. "Its in good shape mechanically, but needs headliner repair, new tires and has a few dings in the rear bumper. It drives/handles nicely. Does $2500 sound like a fair price to you?"
I suggested a lower offer due to the worn tires and the headliner repair, and received this message from him yesterday: "I called and spoke with her. I followed your idea and told her since it needed new tires and headliner repair, that I thought the asking price was a bit high. I explained about the expense of parts, etc. She asked me to give her a few minutes to think on it, and she'd call me back. Within 12 minutes flat, she called me back and asked if $1800 would sound fair. SOLD!"
Since Mercury Grand Marquis are excellent cars and almost trouble-free, what makes them so cheap?
Answer: Younger car-buyers consider these to be an “old-folks” car so they don’t even look for them. But the very fact that older people were buying them a dozen years ago usually means that (1) the cars are never abused, (2) maintenance was by the dealer, and (3) the cars are sold because the driver has either gotten too old to drive, or has died.
Last fall our son in Montana said he needed a good car for about $5000 so I said I would find him a cream-puff one-owner low-mileage six-passenger Grand Marquis with not a mark on it. Two weeks later we picked up the 2001 model you see below. The man sold it only because it had been his wife’s car and the wife had died.
Does what I say make sense, folks?