Best Endorsements: 25 Years Late Edition
We’ve all seen them. We’ve oft been told, “Run, don’t walk” from them. We’ve told ourselves this also, as if by instinct. We’ve experienced the anguished crises of conscience whenever we encounter one along our travels. Some are landmarks and stomping grounds, old friends on the street; new ones are at once strange yet oh-so-familiar, ever the same as the last.
I’m not referring to your favorite local alleyway’s “sales professionals” (just what kind of guy do you take me for? Er, uh, wait… on second thought, don’t answer that, for my family’s sake), but those splendid little corner lots where the metal parked thereupon threatens to impart a case of syphilis nonetheless. Those delightful lots that rip space-time through being not just the cause, but also an effect of the word “decrepit” being used as the corner descriptor. Those fascinating lots that serve as one of the last wild frontiers of capitalistic free enterprise, where the unwary desperate enough to consider a “Buy Here Pay Here” deal can find themselves out $8,000 total on a 10-year-old-wreck that would be crack-piped at LeMons pricing – and probably wouldn’t run for 5 months, let alone the 5 years for which the BHPH plan works out.
But then I paint with too broad a brush, for not all corner lots are the mob-front variety. Indeed, some are populated with merely garden-variety scuzz. That’s small consolation when the object of your desire dares to tantalize despite its shared, cringe-inducing floor plan, but sometimes that’s all you need. Case in point, via fair disclosure: my first car, a 10-year-old, oddly-optioned 1988 Ford Thunderbird demonstrator, came from one of those lots. It proved to be worth every last fiber of soon-to-be-laundered scrip and still survives* today, but would I buy from there again? It wouldn’t be my first choice. I remember having to go back to exchange the “new” spare tire for one that had the correct Fox-platform 4-bolt pattern. Yeah.
Paradoxically, it’s often these very lots that imprison the most interesting cars, dangling them in front of us, urban siren songs of captivity lubricating the gears in our heads, rusty beacons floundering in a sea of the mundane. Will you dare slay your own common sense to consider rescuing the Jeep Comanche, Torino Talladega, BMW 2002, or Porsche 924 buried behind the rows of $6,000 G-Bodies, 2nd-gen Tauruses and Chryco Cloud Cars?
It probably runs; It needs just minor work; It’s surely possible to talk the asking price down. Isn’t it? If you’re willing to chance it, have we got a deal for you! It even comes with a warranty!
Yes indeed, this particular field pothole o’ dreams is so reputable, they’re willing to stand behind you with a full, 3-month, 3K miles, 50/50 parts & labor drive train warranty… on a 25-year-old car! Say that again: “Reagan’s Heyday.” So, riddle me this: when’s the last time you saw a warranty on a too-hunnert-an’-ten-thouuuw-sand-mile heap selling for $4,000? Surely, that’s not so much a shine on the dealer’s reputation, as much as a testament to the legend surrounding the offered merchandise, right?
So take your guesses and don your best ringleader attire: What high-mileage used car(s) from 1984 would dare command such a price, yet be plausibly worth said coin and a warranty? Now this might not be that difficult a guessing game, but there’s bound to be some interesting discussion and other alternative suggestions from our esteemed readership. We’re all ears, so take your best guess / offer your best suggestions.
Unfortunately I don’t run a corner lot times is hard, so I can’t offer much in the way of prizes save a hearty e-pat-on-the-head… and maybe a promise not to talk so freakin’ much about one lousy photo in the future. No guarantees though, on account of this curse I have, see…
The answer (via photos) will be revealed later. So break out those black blue books and have fun!
*Note: “survival” in this case may or may not mean “as a backyard planter”.