Date registered: Nov 2010
Vehicle: 1986 W126 300SE, 1984 Porsche 944, 2004 Renault Scenic 1.9 DCi
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
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Investment? It can be.
Wow, many interesting stories here!
Like most of you, I grew up knowing and accepting that a car is an expense.
The first car to change that knowledge for me was an old Benz.
I was looking for a 1986 W124 wagon to use as a family car for long journeys with low ownership costs (in Holland you are taxed according to the weight of the car, unless it is over 25 years old, then there is no road tax)
But it was hard to find a good one on the cheap, so I started looking out for W 126s.
I had only 4 requirements. Cheap to buy, well maintained, must have aircon, not too many electric toys.
I didn't mind a car with some things wrong, as I did some homework and found that parts are cheap and easy to come by, and that it's easy to work on the car yourself.
After months of searching, I found my car in Bonn, Germany. It had 2 long term owners, and the 3rd (who was a worker at a cash & carry private car dealer) bought it when the second owner died, planned to sort it out for himself, but hadn't got around to it so the car had been standing for a year.
It was a manual, 290000km, aircon, sunroof, just a bit of rust, electric heated mirrors, but otherwise no electric toys.
I had him put the car on a lift long enough to establish that the suspension rubbers had been changed in recent years, drove it long enough to find thatthe brakes were hopeless and the engine stuttered. Handed over 2100 euro in cash and imported it to Holland.
I then spent 1500 euros on it (including import costs) - to put on alloys in place of the steelies with hubcaps, brake master cylinder done by a garage, distributer, driver door seal, new gearbox and diff oil, spark plugs and filters, gearstick sack and some other stuff.
Aft driving it a bit, i reached a conclusion that although it was a great car, it couldn't really replace our Renault Scenic as a family car for long journeys (for you Americans, that's a euro-size small minivan).
One day I was telling a colleague the story, and at the end of it he said he wants to buy the car.
We agreed on 4000 Euros. He has now had the car for over 1 year, which for him was a test period to see if he keeps it. He has driven it all around Europe, virtually nothing has gone wrong, and he has decided to keep it.
So for the first time in my life I turned a profit on a used car (even if just a small profit) - something that I have already replicated once with a 90s Renault, and am hoping to do again to help make my Porsche 944 cost neutral (pay for my hobby out of making money from my hobby)
And hey! If car dealers can make a profit out of used cars, why can't enthusiasts do the same?