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Old 06-29-2019, 10:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Looking to buy a 1st gen VR4

Hi everyone! I'm a newbie from the Metro Detroit area in Michigan.

I made the (great) mistake of purchasing a 1st gen Miata last summer, and it has proven to be a gateway drug. Now I'm looking for a 1st gen VR4 that would pair well with my brother's FD RX-7.

I've already done a lot of lurking and research, and I'm hoping to find a clean red 91-93 VR4, mostly stock, which is either caught up on maintenance, or priced to account for needed maintenance (e.g., I could probably tackle a timing belt and water pump, as well as all fluid changes).

I see that there have been a couple clean examples fully caught up on maintenance, fully functional, with many new parts that have sold for around $7500-8000. But now all I can find on the market is either:
  • Very clean cars with under 60k miles asking $18-22k (overpriced? guessing $12-15k is more realistic, but out of my range)
  • Trash piles asking $4-7k (major cosmetic damage, seats disintegrating, excessively modified, engine problems, etc).
  • Examples that look good in pictures, with 55-90k miles, asking $11-13k, described as "excellent condition", but upon further inspection/questioning find that there is no known maintenance history, serious cosmetic flaws (big scrapes through paint, bad sections of faded color and flaking clear coat), and/or serious mechanical issues (multiple oil leaks, overheating while idling, ABS malfunctioning, difficult starting, A/C and heater not working, etc)

Am I too late to the party? Is the value of a clean, unmolested, and mechanically solid VR4 increasing now?
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Old 06-29-2019, 11:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Have you seen the silver 92 VR-4 on bring a trailer right now?

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/19...3000gt-vr4-11/
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That thing is clean. Right in line with what I paid for my 91 with 45k miles
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Old 06-30-2019, 10:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 1st gen VR4

That's very nice. But it's already out of my price range (bid at $12,500 as of now), and probably a bit too nice for me. Not saying I think that car should cost less. I wouldn't be surprised if it sells for $14k+.

This is more like what I'm looking for (but red): https://www.3si.org/forum/f10/1991-m...-clean-816991/

I'm aiming for Around $7-8k.

I'm looking for something nice/clean enough to be proud of, mechanically solid, but just flawed enough (light swirl marks in clear coat, a small dent, stone chip, or scratch here and there, etc) that I won't feel guilty when I add a scratch or stone chip from actually driving it regularly. I'm also fine with some non-critical fixable flaws that I can work on over time to make the car nicer.

Higher mileage (90k-150k miles) isn't a concern to me, as long as it has been reasonably maintained and is up to date on serious maintenance (e.g., timing belt).

I'm even OK with catching up on some maintenance myself, even a timing belt if necessary... as long as the purchase price of the car leaves room in my $7-8k budget to buy quality parts/supplies for the maintenance.
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Old 06-30-2019, 11:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 1st gen VR4

I've got a red 91 vr4 with 129k on odo, freshly rebuilt engine and turbos, brand new clutch. Asking $7,500.00, located on the southeast Iowa/Missouri border. Seats arent the greatest, minor body damage on rear R quarter panel. Nothing that can't be fixed.

A little bit of body work and some nice Corbeau seats would make this a hot ride for under $10k.

BSN, RN, EMT
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 1st gen VR4

Quote:
Originally Posted by UselessPickles View Post
I wouldn't be surprised if it sells for $14k+.
That BaT auction is already up to $13,456 now. I revise my prediction to around $16k.

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I've got a red 91 vr4 ...
PM sent
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Old 07-04-2019, 11:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 1st gen VR4

Quote:
Originally Posted by UselessPickles View Post

I see that there have been a couple clean examples fully caught up on maintenance, fully functional, with many new parts that have sold for around $7500-8000.?
Senda message to 68Whiskey who sells these as a side business in ur price range. While never actually bought a car form him..yet know he good on selling u quality parts....
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Old 07-04-2019, 11:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 1st gen VR4

Still less expensive than honda/aucra NSX, Nissan 300ZX TT, Toyota Supra and especially Nissan GT-R of that era. Other than EVO's it is so insane how damn cheap these Mitsu VR-4's(both 3000GT and Galants) and especially Eclipse GS-T's N GSX go for in comparison to the others. Wish EVO were as cheap too.
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Old 07-04-2019, 11:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 1st gen VR4

make that 17,000 now as if 4th of July.
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking to buy a 1st gen VR4

Quote:
Originally Posted by COKE08 View Post
Send a message to 68Whiskey
Already done

The previous car he sold has been one of my benchmark examples of a mechanically and cosmetically nice VR4 that sold in my price range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by COKE08 View Post
Still less expensive than honda/aucra NSX, Nissan 300ZX TT, Toyota Supra and especially Nissan GT-R of that era.
Doesn't change the fact that the $14k+ examples are well out of reach for my budget, and that there's evidence of multiple VR4's that have sold in my price range that were mechanically solid and cosmetically decent.

I've come across a couple VR4s for sale asking over $10k that I thought I might be able to negotiate down to my price range, but some of these sellers think their cars command top dollar just because they think "it looks pretty nice for a 28 year old car".

I walked away from one without even making an offer because it was so bad. It was described as "excellent condition" asking $11,500:
* Front active aero crushed bad and cracks in front bumper with animal fur stuck in it.
* Rear active aero stuck in the up position (I questioned why it seemed to be in the up position, and owner claimed that it worked just moments before I tested to confirm it didn't).
* No maintenance records. 10k miles overdue for timing belt, etc., and owner was very dismissive of the importance of having it done.
* Multiple oil leaks.
* Had trouble starting and idled a bit rough/noisy.
* A/C didn't blow cold air, heater didn't blow hot air.
* Coolant temp climbed to max while idling before even driving it. Fluctuated between normal and climbing to max while driving (I actually didn't even want to drive it based on behavior at idle, but owner offered to drive, so I rode along, then accepted when he offered to switch drivers).
* During the test drive, he drove like a grandma on a Sunday cruise (very gentle acceleration, short shifting). When he let me drive, I asked him to direct me because I was unfamiliar with the area. He directed me through only residential streets with 25mph speeds.
* Sport/tour exhaust didn't work.
* Radio antenna was missing.
* Speedometer intermittently didn't work.
* ABS malfunctioned - kicked in while gently stopping at low speeds (when it happened, owner commented, "wow, those brakes really work well!").
* Transmission didn't like downshifting from 3rd to 2nd (grinding).
* Cosmetically was far from "excellent": spoiler was severely faded, clear coat flaking in several places, black trim pieces faded. The seller repeated many times how nice this car is, considering its age.

Another seller is simply not answering any of my questions about whether all of the features are functioning, has no service records, knows noting about what maintenance has been done, and at one point replied (after 1.5 weeks of no response) that they "obviously" aren't in a rush to sell the car, and they know how much these cars sell for (I had not even mentioned price or an offer yet; was just asking for info about the car).

Some of these people basically know nothing about their cars or the importance of maintenance, and don't want to be bothered with the fact that details matter. They just want someone to come along and think, "That's a cool-looking car; here's all the money you want!", because that's probably what they did, and they want to recoup the money they overpaid for their car to begin with. One seller wasn't even aware that the car was AWD, had 4-wheel steering, or was supposed to have tour/sport exhaust modes.

That's my rant. I wish I could find more sensible sellers that actually know something about their cars and have taken decent care of their cars.
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