April 10, 2001
Hi all! Thanks for the great and diverse advice! I really appreciate every post.
I've pondered and looked and made offers but today I had a very unique and hopefully profound day. I went to Sarasota (70 miles away) to buy a 89 Toyota Cressida with 109k miles and in pretty good shape. I had it looked at by a local shop and they found it needed a new exhaust and rear rotors and pads. I asked the seller to split the $450 with me but he said no. My wife and daughter was with me and both felt as I did, that we weren't getting good feelings from this seller, so I said "adios" and paid the local garage or a job well done.
On the way home, I told them about a 86 300E with 141,000 miles on it, I had called on in our town that was priced right but needed a transmission repair. They wanted to look at it so we did.
A body shop owner had it for sale. He bought it from an elderly couple that had banged up the front fender and decided they shouldn't drive anymore. He had painted the whole car and planned on driving it himself until he decided to move to a new high profile location and needed the money for the move. The car had sat for 5 months and when he started showing it to buyers, it had developed a few problems. The AC had leaked down and wasn't blowing very cold and the transmission would shift into 2nd or third until you ran up the rpms until almost redline. He lowered the price to $3500 to get rid of it so I looked at it. I started it up and was testing the windows, lights, etc., when my wife tells me there is a liquid pouring out from under the car. I shut it off and went over and smelled it, gasoline!
I showed this to the owner and needless to say he wasn't happy, in fact he said he must be jinxed with this car! He has an 81 300sd with over 250,000 miles and has never had any real problems. He told me that he had $3500 in it with the new paint job but if I want it I can have it for $2500 or else he's going to smash it in with a truck and put it out front for advertising his auto body business. I told him I would bring my mechanic over tonight and go through it with him. We just left the car, where we replaced the fuel line in the rear and drove it around. The prognosis is it needs freon, a transmission filter or possibly a valve body rebuild, and possibly a valve lifter. My mechanic says BUY!
So it looks like my daughter will be driving an '86 300E for her first car.
Wednesday April 11, 2001.
I bought the car for $2300 and drove it home. My daughter is ecstatic and now I feel I have a safe car for her that looks good and when we get through with the few repairs, a dependable car that looks like new. I guess waiting for the right deal is worth it!!
Thanks for all the positive support from everyone.
89 300SE, 157,212 miles
new addition, an 86 300E, 188,900 miles for 17 yr old daughter
97 Expedition 4X4, 114,230 miles
98 Honda Valkyrie, 48,987 miles
82 300SD, 168,350 sold
78 300CD, 118,600 sold(wish I still had)