Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finding the Right Car.. The Start of the Mustang Restoration...

Well, I finally did it.  I was able to talk my wife into allowing me to purchase a Mustang.  This was a pretty long process that boiled down to one key factor.  It had to be a convertible.  That is what finally sold her on it.  (Well, that and my constant sending pictures of different Mustangs for sale asking if I could go look at it/buy it.)

My criteria...

1.  It had to be an original Mustang GT or LX 5.0.
2.  It had to be a convertible
3.  It needed to be pretty much stock.  No major high performance upgrades.
4.  It had to be pretty much rust free.
5.  It couldn't have been a product of a rebuild/totalled car fix.
6.  I needed to be able to drive it without any major fixes  (wife put this criteria in)

My price point was pretty low, so I had to look in the early to Mid 90's models.  I really wanted an 88 because I liked how they looked, and I also wanted one when I was in high school.  But given my budget and availability, I was not in a position to be that specific.
After about 3 months of looking on http://craigslist.comhttp://www.autotrader.com, and http://www.cars.com.  I finally found one that appears to be worth the money as it is as well as worth restoring.

One of the key things you need to do when finding a car is to try to find one that fits what you would like to do with it.  You need to get a solid history on the car if at all possible.  I was looking for one that was about as original as I could find.  I want to restore one that hasn't been totally beaten down and requiring a ton of work.  One of the first things I did when looking for a car is run a Carfax on it.  Although you may not find out all of the information about a car on Carfax, you will find out enough to make an educated decision about if the car is worth a purchase.

Let me reiterate how important it is to do this carfax check by telling you about one of my experiences in this process.  There is a dealer in Fort Wayne, IN that had a 1989 LX 5.0 that looked really nice in the pictures.  It was triple Black (Black Top, Black Paint, Black Interior).  This car looked awesome.  The ad said it had about 73,000 miles on it.  I was getting pretty excited at this point.  I ran the carfax report and found out that it actually had 173,000 miles on it.  That dealer wasn't going to tell me this.  I still wanted to look at the car.  I figured that I could negotiate the price a little more armed with this information.  The whole sales process started and continued with the sales person stating the car has only 73,000 miles on it.  I remained silent about my carfax because I wanted to use it in negotiation.  I test drove the car and found out the top leaked, it also had rusting under the doors and trunk lid (pretty common on these cars) and the trunk lid was going to need to be replaced.  A lot of money was going to have to be put into this car to get it to a point of where it would be worth what they were asking for it.  Now after I got back from the test drive, I told the guy I wasn't sold on the car yet, but would see if we could negotiate a better price for this.  At this point I took out my carfax report and told him the car didn't have 73,000 miles, it had 173,000 miles and they needed to adjust thier price accordingly.  At this point the manager heard I brought out the car fax and then he said... "I hope you didn't think that car only had 73,000 miles because we know it doesn't..."  Wow, what a shocker right?  When I told him I wanted a better price, he brought the price down a little, but nothing that was going to change the value to what it should have been worth at 173,000 mile and the repairs that were going to need to be done to make that car a trustworthy drivable car.  So I left.  The whole reason that this guy didn't bring his price down is because he knows that he will find someone that will not run a carfax on that car and believe that it only has 73,000 miles and pay what he is asking.  It is a shame, but that is why there are companies like carfax for you to run a history on them.

Here is what I found out about my particular vehicle.

1.  The odometer had gone past it's mechanical limits.
2.  It was in an accident in 1997.
3.  This car was originally from Florida.
4.  An assumed number of owners at 3  (now 4 with me)
5.  A number of times (assumed) that the odometer was rolled (in this case 2)

What I didn't find out...  Exact number of owners this car had.  I can assume that I am the 4th owner, but the history started in 1991 so I am not sure how many owners there were prior to this.
Armed with this information I was ready to go in and negotiate a deal (not much needed as the car was priced really well).

Based on the information that I was given I could see that the accident that the car was in wasn't a major accident.  It was not totalled out or issued a rebuilt title.  This is good.  I also knew that I needed to find where the car was hit in the front.  If I could easily identify it, that means it was worse than I had anticipated.
Initial inspection of the car revealed everything that the previous owner had told me over the phone.  (I drove over 200 miles to get the car)  It was pretty much rust free, started and ran well, and the main mechanical pieces all worked well.  Given that I had a good price for the car, I trusted that it would be a safe trip home, etc.  I purchased it.  I am now the proud owner of a 1986 Mustang GT Convertible.

Here are some of the details I received from the previous owner...

1.  He owned it for 2 years.  Ran out of storage space for it and didn't want it stored outside in the Michigan winters.
2.  It was garaged during the winter months while he had it.
3.  The engine was rebuilt by the owner previous to him and was rebuilt with OEM parts.

Here are some pictures of the new mustang...

This is a front shot taken inside my garage because it was raining the day after I purchased it.

This is the drivers side shot also taken in the garage because it was raining...

Passenger side shot inside the garage.  Note:  There is a dent in the door below the the mirror.

Here is a shot of the Car with the top down

Finally a shot of the engine...

No comments:

Post a Comment