It’s hard not to get excited over a luxurious European model. Sleek lines, nice curves, a throaty voice that beckons like a Sirens call so beautiful that no one can resist. However, just as the Sirens of Greek mythology and the call of the wild that lured sailors to shipwreck ruin, used European luxury and sports cars can lure a used sports car shopper to make buying decisions for a car that can be had for a song…and then lead to financial ruin.
That was the point of a recent Car Wizard YouTube channel episode that served as a warning to anyone tempted to buy a used luxury sedan or sports car (like a Jaguar) that can be found for only a few thousand dollars on the used car market.
The Misguided Allure of a Used Sports Car
The example used was a 1999 Jaguar XK8 that looked immaculate and well cared for with only one problem---it was difficult to start.
To a non-mechanic, a car that is difficult or unable to start is a problem but typically not an unsolvable one unless an engine is obviously blown. Fuel, spark, compression---most car owners understand as the basics of what an engine needs in order to start and run and is a good part of what I love about old V8s. They are much more forgiving and easier to work with than say a German or Italian engineered model or a modern day “American” car with significantly more computing power and electronic complexity than the Apollo Lunar Lander.
However, compared to a stock, older V8 engine, performance foreign vehicles are comparatively much more complex and never forgiving. So, the view of what should be a solvable problem is a common buyers’ misperception and mistake.
Another mistake of the uninitiated foreign luxury and sports cars used car shopper is not understanding why that used luxury car is so cheap today compared to what it cost brand new 20 years ago. Plus, the typical lower mileage of these vehicles and how new they still look when put up for sale are additional temptations that are hard to resist.
What it all comes down to is that the original owner of the foreign sports car knows what the life expectancy is of their beloved model and that mechanically nursing it along as it ages soon becomes prohibitively expensive…to the point where putting money into a new model makes better economic sense. Hence, the low-priced foreign luxury and sports cars we see advertised today.
Related article: Used Lexus Buying Advice About the Best And Worst Lexus Models
Why a Good Mechanic Will Not Work on a Used European Car
Follow along with the host as he showcases a 1999 Jaguar XK8 with only 106,000 miles on it and reveals why a good mechanic knows when it is time to stop diagnosing a problem and go to the customer with the bad news, explaining why his car’s health is economically terminal.
Beautiful Car! Why REFUSE to Fix It?
For additional articles related to used car shopping warnings, here are a few articles for your consideration:
- Used Prius Shopper Warning by Toyota Mechanic
- Consumer Reports Used Car Title Warning
- Why You Should Avoid Used Cars That Smell Like a Cat Litter Box
Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.
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