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Economics and Strategy of Car Modifications

new 11/24/02

This topic cam up on the list so it may be worthy of formal study. The question is: "Does it make sense to invest so much money in repairs or modifications for out cars given their age or resale value?"

If we look at this say we purchase a new car, a new Marauder for example. Cost of the new car ~$35,000 then if we spend another $20,000 for a blower before we make the first payment it is reasonable to ask if better options exist for $55,000. Add to that cost the potential cost of warranty coverage (est value $5,000 - $10,000) and one may ask does it make sense to modify a new car. Most folks donít. One strategy is to patronize someone like Kenny Brown who is a auto manufacture, hence you donít own a Ford Marauder, you own a "Kenny Brown Marauder S" which may solve some issues but creates others. Still who would not be proud to own a clean Yenko Chevy of any description?

In the other end of the time continuum, what is the resale value of an average condition V6 SHO? So if the car is worth a few thousand, invest $5,000 and you have something special if you care about performance. No warranty issues, assuming the car is paid for the fact that you donít have to make payments may be the very source of funds. Basic questions before you modify a car may be. Is it your daily driver? Is the body, engine, suspension, transmission and brakes in good condition?

Say your car is worth $4,000 and you plan $4,000. Does a better alternative exist for the same total investment. Gee, would I rather have a used Saturn or Civic? Maybe not.

If it is not important to you have a new car and you care about performance or maybe even like well kept vintage iron maybe putting expensive modifications in to an older car might be a prudent plan.

The middle case, I own a V8 SHO, worth less then $10,000 and I just got the title. The sooner I modify it the longer I could enjoy that investment. The car has zero rust, and new transmission, excellent brakes and I hope to drive it another 10-12 years.

So reports are Carterís blower is working out fine. I would not have to worry about a dealership grease monkey finding it and upsetting my Oasis report. So now that I no longer pay the bank $370 a month maybe I can do some thing I choose to do with the car?

The same question is fair for a 3rd time, what else could I buy for the same total investment I would rather own and drive? A new Saturn or Civic? Maybe not. I rather enjoy showing off my stock V8 engine to unsuspecting mortals. It is a hoot to watch their jaw drop. I rather enjoy drooling on other folks SHO engines with blowers and turbos.

What if your AWA thinks your better off with a new Saturn? Let her (or him) drive what ever they can afford and can appreciate. It is not like you have to even tell them, (I wouldnít)


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