I’m Worried About What Will Happen To My Car If I Sell It

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Hello, humans of the Internet, and also racist Microsoft Twitter bots, and welcome to today’s version of Letters to Doug. This is an extra special edition because you are reading this on Friday, even though I am writing it on Thursday. This is due to time travel.

If you’d like to participate in Letters to Doug, you certainly can! Just send me an e-mail at Letters2Doug@gmail.com, and I will giggle at it and forward it to my friends for future ridicule. I may also post your letter here on Jalopnik, assuming it is a) good enough, and b) insulting to Michael Ballaban.

Anyway, today’s letter comes to us from a reader in Colorado who I’ve nicknamed Eldridge. Eldridge writes:


I need your to help!

I bought my WRX wagon new from the dealer in 2005. It’s been my daily driver for over 10 years now. I love it, but I am finally getting the itch to get something new. (Will probably get the 2017 STI if it has a new engine).

The car is in mint condition with only 71,000 miles. So here lies the dilemma, I am actually afraid of what will happen to it if I sell it. Go look at Craigslist in Denver. Every WRX is beat to hell with 150,000 miles and modified with the worst aftermarket parts. You could write an article on the crimes against humanity of some of the things that have been done to the WRXs.

I don’t need the cash for my new car so I could in theory just keep my 2005 WRX as a weekend car. It would be nice to keep it for another 15-20 years. By 2036 there probably will be zero stock WRX/STIs of this vintage. Hell, there aren’t many in 2016!

So my questions: Should I sell it? Should I be afraid of what will happen to it if I sell it? Last, in 20 years will a bone stock 2005 WRX be looked at with fondness or will it be like a 1982 Iron Duke Camaro?



Eldridge also attached this picture of his beloved WRX from when he bought it new in 2005.


Eldridge, you ask an excellent question, because this is something I constantly think about with my used Range Rover. To many people, a used Range Rover is just a boring old used car, albeit a more unreliable one. But mine is special to me: I bought it the day I quit my real job to become a writer, and it’s been with me through thick and thin, traveling thousands of miles with me behind the wheel and providing income to Land Rover mechanics all up and down the eastern seaboard.


And you think the used WRX world is bad? You should see the used Range Rover world. Within nine minutes of me selling this thing, I suspect it will be on used 24-inch chrome rims with mismatched tires, sporting illegal limo tint on every single window, including the windshield. This is not a life I want for my dear used Range Rover. And so, we have the same dilemma.

So I will tell you the same thing I have decided myself. Essentially, there are two outcomes.


OUTCOME ONE: You suck it up and sell it anyway, realizing that it’s just a damn car, and who really cares? Objectively this one is no different from the one off the line right before it, or the one right after it. Although in my Range Rover’s case, the panel gaps might vary by a few inches here or there.

If you choose this outcome, you never, EVER, EVER run the Carfax, because what will happen to your Subaru is you will see that it got registered in some place like Brighton, or Northglenn, and it was involved in a single-car accident only four months after you sold it, where the front end was damaged because the driver hit a giant reflective light pole.


In my Range Rover’s case, it will bounce from auto auction to used car dealer, with each subsequent owner desperate to buy the big beautiful luxury SUV, then desperate to sell it once they’ve realized what they’ve signed up for. After a while, someone will light it aflame for insurance money. But why should we care? After all, it’s just a car.

OUTCOME TWO: You keep it. This outcome is looking increasingly more attractive to me, because my Range Rover is looking increasingly less attractive on the used market. Both of our cars are worth between five and ten grand, and so you have to admit to yourself that unless you seriously need the five or ten grand, the car is probably worth more to you as an actual running and driving vehicle that you love than as, say, seven thousand dollars in your bank account.


So in this scenario, you keep it, and maybe you start to modify it for track days (in your case) or off-roading (in my case, as your daily driving goes to a newer, more capable, safer, more advanced vehicle.

So which outcome do you pick? It’s a tough call, and I think it largely depends on the status of your bank account. If you don’t mind having eight grand cash just sitting in your driveway and slowly costing you money in insurance payments and oil changes, keep it. If you need the cash, ditch it. But don’t be mad if the guy who shows up to buy it puts on an “illest” sticker before the ink is even dry on the bill of sale.


@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars, which his mother says is “fairly decent.” He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer.