Nice Price or Crack Pipe thinks that extremely low-mileage old cars are like the Coelacanths of the Used Car market — you never expect to come across one, and when you do, you don't know what to do with it.
Feathers were ruffled in Santa Cruz yesterday when the tidy but snot-colored Fiat 128 rolled up with a $10,000 sticker on the window, and a greasy pizza box in the back. Wise beyond your beers, 93% of you felt that asking price was perhaps a stretch considering the car lacked both the actual pizza and a kilo of blow secreted in the gas tank. Thankfully, the residents of this college town have gone back to eating their granola and organizing their Birkenstocks, and we can move on as well.
That Fiat could be called a survivor for not having returned to its base elements in a cloud of iron oxide and chianti by now. Surviving is one thing, spending 34 years in suspended animation is another, and is usually reserved for some sort of freakishly large dung beetle or colobus monkey that then goes for cheap sushi and a building-crushing rampage in Tokyo. In those situations it is typical for Godzilla to intervene, sending the giant creature back from whence it came, and then doing his happy dance. Today's contender is a giant which has been slumbering since the bicentennial only to be awakened with the sole intention of rampaging in one lucky Buy-It-Now button-presser's hometown.
This 1976 Buick LeSabre in
electric poop beautiful ‘70s metallic bronze comes to us with a claimed 372 miles on the clock. It also has a digital clock and what appears to be 7:03 on that. Not only has the fourth wheel on the odo sat fallow all these years, but the trip-meter shows fewer than seventy two miles! Seventy two!
With so low a mileage, and having been garaged for almost its entire life, or so sayeth the seller, it's for all intents and purposes a nearly-new car. It'd be sort of like buying the demo off the dealer's lot back in the day. And this is a car that truly exemplifies back in the day. Bigger than any current Buick, and representative of the last year of gargantuan B-bodies, this '76 seats six and has enough trunk space for four more. The spare tire is so far forward in there that you'll give yourself a hernia trying to yank it across the vast open plains of the trunk floor.
Way at the other end, if the VIN is to be believed, is the Buick 350 V8 and not the range-topping 455. That 350 is not a bastard Chevy motor but the long-stroke Dauntless, residing under a hood long enough for Bob Lutz to land a fighter jet on. A TH400 backs up the deep-skirted eight, and the only thing you need to know about the rest of the chassis is that it handles and rides like the thing that tried to eat Steve McQueen in the movie The Blob. Not that you'd probably be doing much driving if you were to buy it. The attraction, as well as the reason for the $16,500 asking price is the uber-low mileage. Even driving it home will decrease its value precipitously- although the same thing could be said about buying a brand new Chrysler Sebring. So what would you do with it? Flatbed it to Lutz's house and tell him that if he stops whining about Buick's brand image you'll give him a lift to Olive Garden? Drive the crap out of it for a year, to bring the mileage up to a proper level- and return the balance of things? Maybe move your family into it?
Therein lies the rub- as many a happy-ending massage has gone- while you're paying extra for the dearth of miles, adding them will take the bloom off the rose. But, if you have the money, and really want to drive an old LeSabre, you probably wouldn't go wrong starting with one in such good condition.
So, does $16,500 for this time capsule set your check-writing hand all a twitching? Or, low mileage or not, is this one blast from the past that you would rather leave slumbering?
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