Another year is in the books, and as 2020 was all kinds of a crap year, we shall be burning those books posthaste. That’s not before we delve into all the cars, the votes and the changes that made up Nice Price or No Dice in 2020.
This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve recapped our daily contest of cars, prices and crazy ads, but it’s also the year that’s seen the most upheaval. Over the past 12 months, we’ve collectively fought through a pandemic, endured the craziest politics of our time and learned a new meaning for the name “Karen.”
Perhaps most importantly, the long-running sobriquet “Nice Price or Crack Pipe” was cast to the wind at midyear. That was owed to its drug connotation having grown tiresome and offensive. After trying out a couple of alternatives, we settled on Nice Price or No Dice, which honestly, I like even better for its cadence and more effective rhyme scheme.
One thing that happily hasn’t changed is all of the fabulous Jalops that come here to participate on a daily basis and have stuck with us through all the crazy changes. I say this every year, but without all of you, none of this would happen. Thank you all for being so exceptionally fabulous.
all of the savvy consumer experience and exceptional gearhead knowledge you have imparted over the past year has resulted in tons of data for us to pore over as though it’s something important. We’re going to do that right now.
The chart above is perhaps notable not for the car-building nations represented, but for those that were under-represented or excluded entirely. We looked at a lot of cars from the U.S. (90) and from Germany and Japan (66 and 57, respectively), but we had no candidates from France and only one each from Korea and Eastern Europe.
We could have perhaps fudged the former as we did assess an American-built French car with October’s AMC Encore. For the list, however, I hewed to the nation of assembly location rather than that of corporate overlords. I do find it interesting how fairly evenly represented England, Italy and Sweden ended up.
It may have been a bad year for almost everything else, but it was a good year for years. That’s because we had a fairly even split of model years among the most recent decades, as well as a smattering of earlier eras. We even had a Cadillac from the 1920s, one of the oldest cars we’ve ever considered.
The most popular model year we looked at? That would be 1993 which provided us with 11 candidates. Make of that what you will. Overall, we looked at more cars from the aughts than any other decade, with the ’90s and ’80s falling in close order behind. My guess is that next year we’ll see more cars from the 2010s than any other decade as there are just so many cool ones that are hitting the market these days.
In 2020 we evaluated an amazing $3,401,524.00 worth of cars, trucks, bikes, and one airplane. That’s a lot of moolah for most, but to put that in context, it’s about half of what Jeff Bezos supposedly makes in an average hour. It’s also about what a 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari would have set you back if you could have bought one off the production line.
The cheapest set of wheels we looked at in 2020 was a 1993 Honda Del Sol project car for which $650 was asked. Yes, the appropriate response to that one was “yikes!”
The Del Sol proved to be more “parts car” than car, and in that shape it couldn’t get a majority of you to part with even its modest asking, resulting in a No Dice loss.
At $140,000 Canadian, the Porsche-powered 1988 Mooney M20L proved to be 2020's most expensive candidate.
That Mooney was appreciably rare and while it was intended for the skyways rather than the highways, it still couldn’t get clearance for takeoff, falling in yet another No Dice loss.
Our average of all the prices for the year was $13,551.88, which was down substantially from last year’s $15,316 average. I blame the coronavirus.
The question “why are we here?” has stymied theologians and philosophers alike for centuries. Fortunately, we all know why we are here, and that reason is to vote. That’s right, none of this would be any fun if you all didn’t weigh in on our candidates in both comments, and more important, your up or down votes.
You all voted over 1.8 million times this year. That’s a lot. Thankfully there were no demands for recounts, and no one suggested that any of our results were influenced by deceased Latin American dictators.
There is a lot to be gleaned from those 1.8 million votes. The most important thing is probably how the votes split out. In 2020 we saw 100 Nice Price wins and 151 No Dice losses. Interestingly, that aligns fairly solidly with what we’ve seen in years past. We expect the down-votes to outweigh the up-votes since a lot of sellers start out high in expectation of some haggling. You all caught on to those cases.
The biggest winner of 2020 was a bit of a surprise. That was the 1924 Cadillac V-63 which earned a laudable 88.8 percent Nice Price win at its $18,000 asking price. I guess in a year when everything is seemingly going wrong, there was something comforting about a car from an era few of us lived through and hence could be imagined in idyllic terms.
The biggest loser of 2020 was the 2001 Dodge Ram diesel high boy that asked for $20,000 and raked in an overwhelming 95.89 percent No Dice loss. Hell, that truck even squeaked by the $30,000 KISS Mini Cooper, which was pretty much predestined to fail. That’s an impressive feat.
Speaking of just squeaking by, we saw a 1984 Buick Regal T-Type win by 50.08 percent and a 1987 Plymouth Reliant wagon that lost by 50.8 percent. These were the ones that I was most worried would end up in a recount.
It should be noted that there’s little rhyme nor reason to the order in which our candidates compete. It’s mostly totally random and driven by what’s offered for sale at the moment, and what I think you’d find to be alternatively cool or craptacular.
With that being said, we do tend to go on jags where we either love everything we see or find one after another to be abhorrently priced. That has resulted in what we like to call the streaks.
Without further adieu, here are the longest runs of wins and losses, along with each candidate’s pertinent details.
The Winning Streak (May 28, 2020, through June 4, 2020):
- 2004 Audi A6 2.7t — $6,500/60.84 percent
- 1984 Isuzu Impulse — $3,950/61.30 percent
- 1985 Porsche 944 — $5,500/71.96 percent
- 2012 Mitsubishi I-MiEV — $4,050/55.62 percent
- 1993 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer — $2,500/80.73 percent
- 2003 Jaguar XK-R — $15,000/50.58 percent (another squeaker)
The Losing Streak (November 24, 2020, through December 4, 2020):
- 1988 Mercedes Benz 560SEC — $5,500/77.2 percent
- 2002 Acura RSX Type S — $5,000/82.2 percent
- 1984 Buick Skyhawk T-Type — $3,500/70.4 percent
- 1985 Toyota Pickup — $7,500/69.7 percent
- 1991 Subaru-powered VW Vanagon — $23,000/75.8 percent
- 1987 Plymouth Reliant wagon — $4,800/50.8 percent
- 1983 BMW Rieger 320i project — $3,800/80.9 percent
- 2013 Dodge Dart — $4,500/65.3 percent
I think it was pretty obvious by the timing of this streak that the holidays were taking their toll on a lot of us.
The pandemic may have taken the wind out of our “sales” this year (see what I did there?) but it didn’t stop us from dreaming. The most popular car of the year, as indicated by the number of votes, was the 2011 Porsche Panamera we looked at all the way back in pre-pandemic January. Ahh, those were the good old days.
Not only did the Panamera and its $19,000 price engender a stunning 26,737 votes, but those votes weighed in its favor too as it took home a solid 61.65 percent Nice Price win.
Remarkably, the Porsche wasn’t the year’s most discussed car. That honor fell to our second most popular candidate, the 2014 Chevrolet SS we also featured in January. The Chevy’s 497 comments beat out the Porsche (254 comments) and stood head and shoulders above the next most discussed car, the 2013 Ford Flex SEL which earned 402 comments.
So, as we say in the Gyro business, that’s a wrap.
Before I close out, however, I want to reiterate my appreciation for all of you who show up almost every day and play our little game. It’s a lot of fun for me, and I hope it is for you as well.
Here’s to a new year being a better year, and one that’s filled with lots of cool cars, trucks, bikes and yes, maybe even an airplane or two for sale so that we might judge them all.
Peace to you, fam.