When I started doing Ask Bark columns, I feared that every week would turn into “What’s the best sporty car I can get for under $10,000?” Since I no longer work there, I’m sure it’s completely fine that I tell you that the most popular search on that big, orange auto classifieds site is “Any make, under $10,000.”
Why? Well, anybody who’s anybody knows that used car prices are skyrocketing (yes, there was a dip in February, but that was an aberration). But why? After all, if used cars are lasting longer than they ever have before (and they are—the average age of the car on American roads is 11.4 years, and that’s after Obama paid $2.8B to take nearly 700,000 working vehicles off the roads), then why do prices keep going up? Shouldn’t there be more cheap cars on the road now?
You can thank the lease bubble. There are going to be 7 million lease returns flooding the marketplace this year. All of these cars were dumped on the market to keep the SAAR climbing and climbing to numbers that were completely unsustainable. Well, those cars are alllllll coming back now, and the residuals are too damn high. So all the lease returns going through the franchise-only auctions are being sold with insane reserves, but if the dealers want to have late-model, low mileage inventory, what choice do they have but to pay? And you know that they’re passing those savings right along to you, the people.
As a result, used car prices now average 60% of new car prices, the highest in history. Thanks a lot, you douchenozzles who leased $99 Cruzes with zero down—you’ve killed us!
There’s a whole article on this to be written, but since this is my blog and not something I have to write for a deadline, I’ll do it another time. Now, to the man with the Mustang question!
A few years ago I absolutely had to have a 2013 Boss 302, but timing and finances didn’t work out. By the time I reached yuppie status, the Boss was out of production and I bought a ’14 GT instead. My plan was to buy the OEM or Ford Performance parts that were discontinued for the ’14 model year and eventually make it my own build—something between a Hertz Penske GT and the Boss that I wanted.
Well, my warranty is just about up and I’ve got a few parts waiting in the garage, ready and raring to go. Something occurred to me though as I was watching the latest Barrett-Jackson auctions: The only classic Mustangs fetching decent amounts of money were the rare, unmodified, numbers-matching survivors.
So with all that said, I’d like to hear your opinion: Should I just have fun with the car and do what I want, or keep it original in the quite-possibly-stupid hope that the economy and classic car market of 2064 will be anything like that of the present day?
Thanks in advance!
Short answer: Do what you want with the car.
Long answer: There’s no reason to suspect that a 2014 Mustang is going to be worth a dime fifty years from now. It’s not the original Coyote refresh model, there are several special models available (Boss, GT500) that will be considerably more valuable to a collector, and Ford sold well over six figures’ worth of Coyote-powered Mustangs from 2011-2014. It’s not particularly rare or special.
Now, that doesn’t mean it can’t be rare or special for you. If you want to polish it with a diaper, keep it factory-fresh, and pass it down to the kids someday, then by all means, you should do that. I quite often regret selling my Boss 302—while the Focus RS is its own sort of special, it doesn’t roar down the street like the Hurricane did. You should enjoy your car in whatever way you want to enjoy it—mods, track, autocross, dragstrip, whatever. I think in the end you’ll find that the experiences you’ll have will be far more valuable than any price you could put on it.
Keep sending Bark emails at firstname.lastname@example.org. He likes answering them. So do I. I’m Bark.