Today we celebrate one year of custody of the Blue Rascal. From a starting mileage figure of 154,746 and today’s 155,857, we can calculate an elapsed figure of 1,111 miles. Not as much as I had planned — lots of time in the garage waiting for parts, waiting for opportune work sessions, waiting for cash flow and so on — but I guess it helps keep my insurance premium low.
One year later and time for an assessment report. Is it a better vehicle than when I acquired it? Lots of rather minor issues were corrected pretty early on: the always-on heater is fixed, a vacuum leak taken care of, the thing starts instantly at the turn of the key, it pulls strongly to redline, 30 mpg or better is readily achieved in highway trips, new hatch seat pins seats were installed, the broken sunroof latches were replaced with a manual set, the instrument cluster was refurbished and replaced (retaining the functioning speedo and odometer, while doing a pre-emptive odo gear enhancement, and thereby legally maintain the mileage reading), the driver side headlight was re-framed and re-positioned and now opens and closes properly, a side marker light was re-positioned, the front valance was straightened a bit, and — finally — a new driver side front fender has been prepared and installed, albeit still in gray primer, to replace the one that wore the deep scar of that presumed parking incident hit. Some attention was given to radiator hoses. Mustn’t forget the new battery. And we started the frightening prospect of rejuvenating the air conditioning system, and bringing it up to R134A.
Haven’t calculated the maintenance and operating cost per mile, but I know that even without having a lot of driven miles to amortize, I’m still in business. Of course, we can probably assume that almost any expenditure after the initial purchase puts us almost immediately underwater. Hagerty puts the value of these cars at a weighted average of $6,444, with a Condition 4 vehicle listed at $3,400 and a Condition 1 car at a whopping $19,100! Here’s how Hagerty defines Condition 4:
#4 cars are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the fender has a minor dent. The interior could have split seams or a cracked dash. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or the interior might not be stock. A #4 car can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 car.
Now here is how Hagerty describes Condition 3 ($5,600):
#3 cars could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 car, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior. #3 cars drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These cars are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 car.