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Thread: Not a new owner *just yet* but would love your opinions on this SC

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Not a new owner *just yet* but would love your opinions on this SC

    Hi everyone!

    Hope this is the right part of the forum to post this - as I'm not a new SC owner *just yet*... I'm a long time admirer of SC's - had one for a brief period a long long time ago, and have been randomly looking for another one ever since. I happened to find this beauty on Craigslist yesterday:
    http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/ctd/4271564383.html

    Would love to get your thoughts - especially if you're in the Portland, OR area and maybe have seen this car cruising around?

    The price seems a bit high to me - but then, it's pretty hard to price compare these vehicles given that KBB doesn't go back to 1989 anymore

    If this car is in as good condition as it appears, I'll admit I'm pretty interested. So much so that I'm thinking of making the trek down to Seattle soonish to take a closer look. Anything I should be looking for?

    Much appreciate all your thoughts in advance!

    Cheers,
    -Dan

  2. #2
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    Jan 2014
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    PS - Some more information: I called George (the sales guy who posted this ad) to discuss this car with him. Apparently the owner recently died, and bequeathed both the car and $100,000 to a friend of his in his will. The friend sold the car to these guys. Ordinarily, I wouldn't buy a story like this - but it sounds like George has a copy of the will along with all the other paperwork... Other that that - it was typical sales guy stuff: garaged it's whole life, only drove to church and back, yada yada yada...

  3. #3
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    I think I looked that one over on a used car lot two years ago. Seemed pricey then too.


    Seen this SC buyer guide PDF?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    offer the guy $4500 then go to $5000. But the car looks really good. Better than the one I just bought. But I tend to buy rough stuff and make what I want out of it. So I don't feel guilty about thrashing a good car.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up

    This SC looks like it's in excellent condition appearance wise. If it runs, drives, and stops as good as it looks I don't think I would pass it up. Your not going to find many SC's in excellent condition (appearance wise anyway) like this. Make an offer say $3500.00 and go from there. Very nice looking car.
    SCCoA Member # 490 since 1997
    1995 SC (five speed) 12.8913@105.86
    Best 60' 1.7489

    1994 SC (automatic) 13.4829@100.23mph
    Best 60' 1.8539 On a stock long block with bolt on's
    http://www.sccoa.com/forums/garage.p...ge_view&id=638

  6. #6
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    I think $3500 is a good offer, but $5000 isn't out of line either. I mean seriously, what does $5000 buy these days? You don't find them that nice very often (assuming it's original paint). A paint job alone is worth $5000 if you buy an SC that needs one. The mileage seems high but it may well be that the car saw a lot of highway miles to and from Cali or something.

    Clearly at 100K miles it's not a creampuff, it's meant to be driven at this point so if that is your intention and it all checks out as clean as it looks and not in need of immediate attention, then see what kind of a deal you can get. Use the book value as a negotiating tool. Find out what your insurance company is willing to go for as replacement value on it. That would be another negotiating tool.

    If you have intentions of modding the car, there is a really nice SC in the Seattle area that already has all the mods for about the same price. It's a black 93 5spd.
    Quote Originally Posted by Miller View Post
    Ya thats why i tape mine down. People think its bc i dont have a moonroof seal (which is true) but its really to keep my roof from ripping off .
    Email me here.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2014
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    KMT, XR7 Dave and everyone - the PDF and your thoughts are very helpful - thanks! I plan to head down to Portland tomorrow morning to take a look and see what she looks like in person (photographs can absolutely hide a lot).

    I'll let you know what I find out. Thanks again!

    -Dan

  8. #8
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    Good luck & keep us posted, thanks.

    Ken

  9. #9
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    I would negotiate and get him down and then scoop it up!

    Clean SC's are not that easy to find and will only get harder IMO.

    Looks nice! Drive it and you will know right away, she will tell you!!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    5
    Hey everyone: The wife and I drove down to Portland yesterday to check out the SC. Got back just in time to watch the 2nd half of the Hawks game too!

    General impression is that she's in very good shape - the seller has both the death certificate and last will and testament of what appears to me to be the 2nd owner - a gentleman born in 1938 and who passed away in June (so all the usual nonsense from a sales guy about how the car was owned by an older person who treated it well and only drove it to church and back seem to at least partially add up in this case).

    From the carfax report they also provided me, looks like the original owner purchased this car new in 1989, and sold it to the 2nd owner in 1992. When this gentleman passed away, he bequeathed it (along with $100,000!) to his friend. Guess his friend didn't want the car - as the current seller picked it up at an auto auction in the fall.

    This car has been loved and garaged it's whole life. Fluids (oil, coolant, power steering) look full, and clean. The belts and tensioners all look great and no doubt have quite a bit of life left. Body looks great (no dents, all original paint). Almost everything works - all the lights come on (for example when you open the hood or console), the suspension functions as it should, the supercharger puts out a nice (12psi or slightly higher?) amount of power, etc.

    This is of course a ~25 year old car, even if it only has 104,000 miles on it. Problems I did notice range from small to concerning:

    1) The power seats all function correctly - with the exception of the backward/forward slider, which is very weak and almost non-functional. Guessing this particular motor needs to be replaced. Means the wife won't be able to drive the car much in the meantime, as the drivers seat is too far back for her to reach the pedals

    2) There *may* be a slight coolant leak. I mention this because of a few drops of coolant directly under the middle of the engine where she was parked when we first got there. This would be directly above / in front of the frame where the front axle is - and doesn't necessarily seem to correspond with any coolant hoses or connections. There was a wire harness here which seemed wet - but touching with a rag seemed to produce more oil residue than coolant. I was unable to reproduce this leak during our drive, and never directly saw anything dripping. Could have been from another car on this lot? Inconclusive.

    3) The clutch engages near the very top of the pedal, and I'm guessing the next owner will probably be replacing this at some point soon

    4) Most concerning of all was what appeared to be steam coming from the exhaust. It was very hard to tell, as it was a cold day (could have just been warm exhaust appearing on a cold day, and not actually water). However, after letting the car idle in a parking lot for a few minutes - there was a distinct moist patch on the ground under each tailpipe.

    So... now I have some questions for you all:

    1) Having been primarily a Subaru guy for the past decade (, I'm very familiar with how Suby's usually blow headgaskets, and this failure can appear in many forms (including but not limited to water in the exhaust). The question that I'm less familiar with is how the t-bird's 3.8 V6 usually blows a headgasket. What is the usual failure mode here?

    2) The seller isn't willing to come down much on price. He's currently asking $5495 on his website, and on Craigslist.... When I offered him $4500, he said the lowest he could possible go to make any money at all was $5295 and a full tank of gas (ha, the tank was already full!).... SO - assuming the worst - lets say this car is blowing a head gasket and needs a clutch - is the fact that the body is in really excellent good shape worth this price?

    Now isn't really good timing for me to buy another car (we're going to be moving soonish, and until we do I don't have a place to park it)... I'm only interested in this one right now because of the excellent shape it appeared to be in... So I've got to continue mulling this over for a little while. Your further thoughts on this topic are of course greatly appreciated!

    Cheers,
    -Dan

  11. #11
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    1a.) Either the seat tracks need lube (common) and/or the motors need to be replaced. It's an '89, so....

    2a.) Needs closer inspection. Shouldn't be any coolant leaking, of course. Oily can be typical of older SCs (leaking snout seal, as an example), but as shiny as this one is outside, it would be nice if things under the hood matched that level of clean. Might be a red flag if they don't back each other up.

    3a.) Might be normal - depends on how it shifts in all gears and if it slips.

    4a.) Might be normal for a car that sits outside and is fired up under current weather conditions. Any coolant/sweet smell? If it doesn't go away after a few miles of spirited driving, it would be a concern, I think.
    -=-
    1b.) What as the color of the coolant in the overflow tank? Any signs of moisture on the dipstick? Did you run it long enough for the cooling system to open the thermostat and was there any puking into the overflow tank?

    2b.) In that example, you might want to find a car for a lower price and put money into it instead.

    I'd suggest to have someone that knows these cars to take a closer look. I'm not surprised a used car dealer wouldn't come down in price, tho - they need to get their money back on that $300 wax job

    Ken
    Last edited by KMT; 01-20-2014 at 01:54 PM.

  12. #12
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    1) The power seats all function correctly - with the exception of the backward/forward slider, which is very weak and almost non-functional. Guessing this particular motor needs to be replaced. Means the wife won't be able to drive the car much in the meantime, as the drivers seat is too far back for her to reach the pedals

    This is most likely just that the seat tracks need to be lubed. This is a very common problem, and not a big deal to fix at all, so I wouldn't worry about this.

    2) There *may* be a slight coolant leak. I mention this because of a few drops of coolant directly under the middle of the engine where she was parked when we first got there. This would be directly above / in front of the frame where the front axle is - and doesn't necessarily seem to correspond with any coolant hoses or connections. There was a wire harness here which seemed wet - but touching with a rag seemed to produce more oil residue than coolant. I was unable to reproduce this leak during our drive, and never directly saw anything dripping. Could have been from another car on this lot? Inconclusive.

    This would worry me. I would go back there with a radiator pressure tester, pump it up to 16psi, and leave it sit for 10-15 minutes to see if the pressure drops at all. If it does, you have a leak, and there are plenty of places coolant could leak from these cars including the rad, heater hoses, oil cooler hoses, water pump, or yes, possibly head gaskets.

    3) The clutch engages near the very top of the pedal, and I'm guessing the next owner will probably be replacing this at some point soon

    Plan on needing to replace the clutch. Keep in mind that the driveshaft in these cars goes over top of the gas tank, so to get it out to drop the trans you either have to lower the tank or drop the rear diff, so a clutch replacement would be a little more expensive/take more time than a typical rear wheel drive car.

    4) Most concerning of all was what appeared to be steam coming from the exhaust. It was very hard to tell, as it was a cold day (could have just been warm exhaust appearing on a cold day, and not actually water). However, after letting the car idle in a parking lot for a few minutes - there was a distinct moist patch on the ground under each tailpipe.

    If it is just steam, this is normal. I would take a good wiff of it to be sure. If it smells sweet, figure you need a head gasket. If it smells like regular exhaust, then it is probably just condensation, which is normal.

    So... now I have some questions for you all:

    1) Having been primarily a Subaru guy for the past decade (, I'm very familiar with how Suby's usually blow headgaskets, and this failure can appear in many forms (including but not limited to water in the exhaust). The question that I'm less familiar with is how the t-bird's 3.8 V6 usually blows a headgasket. What is the usual failure mode here?

    Yes, head gaskets are a common problem, they typically blow between 120-150K miles, but they can go earlier, or later, or sometimes not at all. The real killers for the head gaskets are old coolant, overheating, and detonation. Any one of those will pop a set of marginal head gaskets, and replacing them on these cars is not fun due to the mess of plumbing on top of the motor. If doing them yourself, figure on at least 3 full days of labor for your first time if you are mechanically inclined and have never done it before. If you are paying a shop to do it, I believe book time is around 12 hours, so figure around $1500-2000 including new gaskets, ARP head studs, and resurfacing the heads.

    2) The seller isn't willing to come down much on price. He's currently asking $5495 on his website, and on Craigslist.... When I offered him $4500, he said the lowest he could possible go to make any money at all was $5295 and a full tank of gas (ha, the tank was already full!).... SO - assuming the worst - lets say this car is blowing a head gasket and needs a clutch - is the fact that the body is in really excellent good shape worth this price?

    Now isn't really good timing for me to buy another car (we're going to be moving soonish, and until we do I don't have a place to park it)... I'm only interested in this one right now because of the excellent shape it appeared to be in... So I've got to continue mulling this over for a little while. Your further thoughts on this topic are of course greatly appreciated!

    Given the issues you have found with the car, I would pass on it at that price. Honestly, I would probably pass on it even at $4500, especially if it is leaking coolant, probably needs a clutch, and might have head gasket issues. Just because he may have overpaid for the car doesn't mean that it will sell for over $5000, especially with the issues you listed. These cars just don't hold their value well at all, and better examples have sold for less. If you aren't particularly in the market for a car right now, I would hold out for something better. In the meantime, stay active on here, learn more about these cars, and keep an eye on the ones for sale, since that will get you a better idea what they go for, and you might even pick up a car from one of the current members. Good luck with your search, and welcome to the forums!

  13. #13
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    wow, car looks in very good shape. The issues you describe are good negotiation points to lower the price.
    Current: 1993 SC 5.0L Auto Red, 1994 SC 5-speed Teal, 1995 SC 5-speed Chameleon Blue
    Old: 89 SC auto Twilight Blue, 89 SC stick Titanium, 90 35th stick, 92 Sport 5.0L stick, 94 SC stick Black, 1994 SC Auto Teal
    Also: 1992 Feature Mustang Convertible 5-speed Vibrant Red, 1991 BMW 850i 6-speed Red, 1994 BMW 850CSi 6-speed Red

    www.mamn12.com for your mid-atlantic mn12 needs!

  14. #14
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    Jan 2014
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    Hey guys - apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I really did appreciate your thoughts and insight in this decision. I've decided to not buy this bird right now - and as hard a decision as that is, I think it's the right one... If he'd been willing to negotiate on price, it'd be a strong consideration given how nice the body and interior are. But, as I mentioned - until we move, I don't have a decent garage - so don't need an imminent clutch job just yet either (especially not for top dollar)

    I'll stay in touch - mainly from the sidelines for now. Until next time - thanks very much!

    -Dan

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by E34M20 View Post
    Hey guys - apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I really did appreciate your thoughts and insight in this decision. I've decided to not buy this bird right now - and as hard a decision as that is, I think it's the right one... If he'd been willing to negotiate on price, it'd be a strong consideration given how nice the body and interior are. But, as I mentioned - until we move, I don't have a decent garage - so don't need an imminent clutch job just yet either (especially not for top dollar)

    I'll stay in touch - mainly from the sidelines for now. Until next time - thanks very much!

    -Dan
    I think you made a wise choice by passing. While the paint does look awesome and the interior does look really nice I think him not budging on the price would be a deal killer. I think the car is worth an honest $4,000 as is. It will need a clutch (just did mine cost around $750) and the coolant leak most likely will result in additional expenses to fix. If you have any plan making any modification to the car you may want to hold off and wait for a forum owner to sell there baby that already may have improvements made to it already which could add up quick...

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