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The Search Continues - Am I being too picky?

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Old 06-07-14, 08:53 PM   #1
sayow
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Default The Search Continues - Am I being too picky?

So I drove 300 miles with my son this weekend to personally inspect and drive home a 98 Diamond White LS with 97k miles.

I had reviewed HD photos, done my research on carfax and the service history and had the bank draft in hand.

HERE are the car details as I posted a few weeks back.

When I arrived, I noticed a few things about the car that were off putting. My son says I am being WAY too picky, but if I am going to pay a full 1k over the KBB retail price on a car I was told is "showroom condition" and "nearly flawless" then I feel the following items would give any serious LS enthusiast pause.

1. The seats were PERFECT but definitely recovered. This was most noticeable when looking at the driver headrest as well as the leather on the door jams that was cut in several places.
2.The AC while very cold was making a noticeable hum from what I believe was a belt
3. The Center vents are all but destroyed. The frame was cracked and chipped in several places and the actual vent rails were broken
4. The wood console had several cracks and the shifter was split down the middle.
5. The wood steering wheel was also cracked in about 10 places
6. There were two very small dings in the rear deck lid
7. The outside mirrors had spiderweb cracking in the paint
8. The rear bumper was obviously repainted as the over spray was all over the black plastic. The "new" bumper paint was also peeling, cracking and flaking off at the seams
9. The car had a shimmy at 60mph that was not horrible but definitely noticeable. Could have been tire balancing, but could be suspension issues as well
10. Lots of pitting and a few scuffs on the lower grey area of car. Admittedly the paint seems to be in good shape though.
11. Tires had great tread but showed some cracking telling me they were old and that perhaps this car sat a while.
12. I also learned this was an auction car, not sure how bad that actually is.
13. No documentation on timing belt/WP service other than a sticker which while possibly legit, I have to believe that if it was done 4k miles ago as stated, there would be some paperwork.


So 30 minutes later we left. The "salesman" made it easier and topped it off by telling me that he has 3 offers that were $1,000 more than mine so I was doing him a favor (uh huh). 10k for that car? I think not.

So we wasted a day and some gas money but it was not that bad, but what do you guys think? Am I being too picky for a 16 year old car? I just feel like a car with 97k miles, advertised as showroom and nearly flawless being sold for a grand over KBB should be closer to perfect.

So if anyone has a REALLY near perfect car, I am in the market, cash in hand.

The hunt continues... I will find my unicorn!
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Old 06-07-14, 09:39 PM   #2
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I would walk too. Not so much because of things you listed, but primarily because it was a car with unknown history.

1. It was bought at an auction. Everyone who buys cars at an auction does so as a gamble - they have NO CLUE what the car went through, how it was treated, or anything else that is of any importance. Then, they try to turn it around and make a profit, again, with no real clue as to the real state of the car in any way shape or form. Whatever they tell you about the car is a lie, plain and simple, unless, of course, you believe that they would spend their time and money inspecting such things as compression on all eight cyllinders, timing belt condition, water pump, cats, suspension (which even a pro mechanic who owns the same LS as I do, managed to estimate completely wrong!), and so on. In your dreams; they would never do it, otherwise they would not be a used car salespeople.

2. When there is an accident, there are ways to NOT report it. FIrst of all, if you were hit by a car which then ran away, you would be stuck with a bill, usually running a few grand. Would you care to report it to police when there is nothing they can do, and by doing so, only decrease your car resale value? That's why too often, cars which have been in an accident do not have that on their record ANYWHERE.

3. A car that has been sitting for too long is not a good car. Things do need to keep moving and working to stay in decent shape. This one that was standing, yet it was obviously mistreated otherwise they would not have to change or paint anything stinks of an abused car that then was repossesed or broke badly somewhere then towed away, the owner didn't have the money to pick it up, and it got sold. IT does not get much worse than that.

All in all, I would not take it if it were free. I am pretty sure that, judging by the fact that they had to paint it and replace interior pieces, the rest of the car was just as badly abused: no regularl oil changes (death for the engine!), no topping of the cooland (how many times did it overheat? at least once, which is more than enough to kill it), transmission about to die and so on.

Only buy a car from ONE owner, or possibly one family (where father passes it on to a son or daughter, or wife gives it to husband or sister or whatever), with service history going back to day one, possibly serviced at Lexus dealership. Others, you can forget them, they are a bag of troubled nuts and bolts.
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Old 06-07-14, 09:42 PM   #3
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I don't think your being picky. They obviously think that since the miles are low that you would overlook all the other stuff. It does not seem to be in pristine condition with cracking leather,damaged vents and all the other little things going on and I doubt he had others lined up to pay more than you!
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Old 06-08-14, 07:37 AM   #4
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I got super lucky and the 1990 LS I first looked at was damn near perfect.

Waiting is the hardest part... Keep up the search!
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Old 06-08-14, 08:10 AM   #5
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Be picky none of these cars is gonna be perfect. Don't settle, it will be worth it to find the right one! I searched for months all across the country and one morning a 98 popped up in great condition 15 minutes from my house. Hang in there!
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Old 06-08-14, 09:41 AM   #6
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there are a lot of nice ones for sale now.









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Old 06-09-14, 12:42 PM   #7
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you're not being picky, i would have walked as well. i know you are limited in your searches for that unicorn but i always avoid private dealers as their cars have a questionable past (at least the ones around here, and there are plenty). the interior bits and repaint is already a flag to me, though i know some lexus dealerships here that do repaint just to rid of scuff marks on a lease-return. sidenote: i am appalled that a car is still considered a certified-preown after a repaint of any sort!

keep the search, and continue to be picky! best to find a private owner who has a fair amount of record and history. that peace of mind goes a long way!
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Old 06-09-14, 01:37 PM   #8
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Not picky... smart. It's your money. Get what you want and pay what you're willing to pay.
I would have walked also. Not the last Lexus to be sold... keep up the search.
If you paid up for that you'd be kicking yourself once you got home because it was not up to your standards.
Just wait for the one to come to you..
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Old 06-09-14, 02:01 PM   #9
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Old 06-09-14, 02:21 PM   #10
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I think I was TOO allured by the miles. Finding a sub 100k mile car is rare but if it it LOOK like a car with 150k or more then whats the point?

These cars are too damn reliable to be worried about it being sub 100k. A pristine model with under 150k will do me just fine. Besides I did not want the outdated NAV unit and heated seats would be OK with me.
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Old 06-09-14, 07:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayow View Post
I think I was TOO allured by the miles. Finding a sub 100k mile car is rare but if it it LOOK like a car with 150k or more then whats the point?

These cars are too damn reliable to be worried about it being sub 100k. A pristine model with under 150k will do me just fine. Besides I did not want the outdated NAV unit and heated seats would be OK with me.
Mileage on its own is not a guarantee of anything. I also want to know how were those miles made and by whom. A car that was used for work commute, nice highway driving in normal (not stop and go) traffic, can make 200k miles and be in a much better shape than the one that made half that in a terrible city traffic with potholes and and an angry teen behind the wheel.

So look at who owned and drove the car, and what they used it for.
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Old 06-10-14, 02:50 AM   #12
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I found a '99 with 184,000 miles and it was darn near unmarked. Keep looking.
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Old 06-10-14, 07:50 AM   #13
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No you are not being picky. Keep in mind and used car of that age will have some flaws, but when a dealer or person out right lies to you about the condition of the car then the right thing to do is walk away. I bought my 1998 LS400 brand-new and have driven her for over 15 years. It's a phenomenal vehicle that is well-maintained and looks good. If I were to sell it, I would not in good conscience, say it was in pristine condition. To me that means it would've been professionally stored and drained and taken care of all those years. For two years it was used as a police car in New York City during undercover work so it has a little bit of minor damage to the interior where my partners holster rubbed against the pillar. No prisoners barfed in the backseat though.
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Old 06-10-14, 07:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by charlesw62 View Post
...For two years it was used as a police car in New York City during undercover work so it has a little bit of minor damage to the interior where my partners holster rubbed against the pillar. No prisoners barfed in the backseat though.
Oh man, you just made my day! An LS400 "cruiser"!
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Old 06-11-14, 08:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterls View Post
Oh man, you just made my day! An LS400 "cruiser"!
My partner and I used it to serve high profile warrants. Needless to say, they never saw us coming!
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Old 06-11-14, 08:01 AM
 
 
 
 
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