I’m a bargain hunter and love shopping!! One of my favorite hobbies is stalking Ebay, Craigslist, Bring-a-Trailer and other various websites where one can buy and sell cars. Last year after much deliberation, I bought a brand new car that was almost as expensive as my first house, and that really made me think. In retrospect, I’m now wondering if I made a mistake buying the safe, new car that had 12 miles on it when I drove it off of the lot. There seems to be no shortage of people in the world who have no problem shelling out six-figures for a car on a regular basis and I say good for them! If I made more money, my biggest problems would be running out of garage space for the dozens of cars that I don’t need and remembering what time to get to the airport for my flight to Europe so I’m not late for high tea with the Queen. But, since I’m a typical middle-aged American raising a teenager and I have no such connections with the royal family, I can’t afford a fancy new car made by efficient Germans or hung over Italians which means I don’t have to worry about the massive depreciation factor that befall expensive cars. The money lost when you drive a new high-dollar performance car off of the lot can be more than I make in a year.
I really considered buying a couple of used cars that sold for over $100,000 new and that got me to thinking. Anyone can go out to their local Ford dealer right now and get in to one of the thousands of brand new Mustang GT’s sitting on the lot for a little over $30,000 after tax, tag, dealer prep and that annoying $599.99 dealer fee. The coyote powered Mustang is a fantastic car for the money, as long as you’re careful when you leave a car show. The Internet must be mad at Mustangs right now because there are a bunch of videos of them smashing in to things while leaving local Cars and Coffee events all over the world, but that’s another story for another time. I’m starting to think that GT stands for Got Totaled. Anyway, back to the $30K you could drop on a new 5.0 with 9 miles on the clock. The question is, should you?
Sure, that Mustang comes with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty, gets decent gas mileage on the highway, has a backup camera, has air-conditioned seats and it comes standard with peace of mind. It shows that you’re successful, responsible and that you exercise good judgement by never attending your local Cars and Coffee. But for the same money you would drop to be rollin’ in that new 5.0, you could throw caution to the wind and forget about a warranty, leave piece of mind to other people and snap up a clean, low mileage, 11mpg BMW M5 with a screaming V-10 engine and 500 horsepower! When it was new, the E60 M5 was billed as the fastest 4-door on the planet and that it was. It’s still faster than 98% of cars made today. The engine sounds like a combination of an Indycar and an angry UPS truck. Like the Mustang, you can find a used M5 with a stick shift if you want one and it will be loaded with all the creature comforts that even a new Mustang will never have; revolutionary things like a sunroof and real leather that makes the interior smell like a library in an old movie.
So before you go car shopping and settle for something that you can probably go to Hertz and rent, consider being a risk taker. You won’t believe the price you can buy a slightly used CLS63 AMG Mercedes for. Down in Sarasota, you can get this Aston Martin V8 Vantage Convertible in a lovely shade of green for something in the neighborhood of $40K! Warranty be damned! Common sense and peace of mind are for wimps! Just do yourself a favor and make friends with a foreign car auto mechanic that you can trust, plan for the inevitable repairs that will likely happen and enjoy your new baller status!
Erica Habedank | WTOG CW44/CBS Tampa Bay