well, i did it.
i bought myself a car on saturday. possibly with insufficient research. and will be picking it up on Tuesday.
it’s a 1988 Subaru DL 4WD manual station wagon with 280,000 km, roof-racks, airconditioning and a reasonable tape deck (not that i actually care about the latter). More importantly, it’s got a five year maintenance history which shows that a fair amount of work has been done, a 3yr unlimited km, unlimited claims warranty (although each claim is limited to $750 for different components of the driveline) and comes with all paperwork (RWC, registration transfer). The cost (including all government charges) was $3700. I estimate the cost of the warranty to be around $500 (checking out ebay showed someone selling a 1yr warranty for $245 but to $1000 limit). So, without the warranty, about $3200.
the thing that crossed my mind was that it may need a reconditioned engine soon but the cost of a reconditioned entry would be substantially reduced by the insurance, one place online (in thomastown) providing a top estimate of $750 for a complete recondition job. Odds are, the thing will breakdown once the warranty elapses. But I figure three years wouldnt be a bad run anyway.
But, it does drive well – smooth acceleration, a surprising amount of power and does reasonably well when the gears are too low. quick checks on exhaust when idling or accelerating seemed ok – ie no fumes. earlier that day, i’d also driven another subaru, same model but with 80,000 less km on the dial and it didnt drive as well – the engine sounded rattly and the acceleration was poor. The dealer there wanted $2500 with a RWC possibly coming up to $500. No maintenance history, no roof racks, no airconditioning, no tape deck (not that i actually care about the latter) no warranty.
So, I got a better deal going with the second dealer. Out of a total sample size of two. Hence the buyer’s doubt now.
But then, I know myself well enough that buyers doubt is all part and parcel of it.