First off, I think the term “Sports Car” is a little limiting as I don’t exactly mean a to limit the discussion to two seat roadsters. It’s hard to think of an all encompassing term that fits: if anybody has a good one or two word term for our little hobby, I’d sure like to know what it is.
To clarify things: I’m speaking about older (approximately between 6 and 20 years old) cars that have a high entertainment factor in terms of actually driving them. Sport models of BMW’s, most any Porsche, Miatas, 350Z’s, WRX’s and Toyota MR@ Spyders. (see a more comprehensive list at the bottom of the page) Not just imports either, as there are plenty of Mustangs, Corvettes, Firebirds and even the (re-badged Holden) GTO. Most of these cars are also reasonably simple to work on and fix, or modify; either by the owner of the car themselves or an independent repair shop. Some people race them, take them to track days, or just enjoy driving them. I’m talking about enthusiast oriented cars that have discussion forums and Facebook pages devoted to them, with a plethora of companies stocking repair parts, accessories and other assorted Tchotchkes.
Although today’s cars are faster than ever, performance in a car that’s also entertaining to drive comes at a price. Anything that’s much fun to drive at all is going to be north of $25,000 and anything with 8 or more cylinders is going to be over $30,000, as will most new Miatas. A new Boxster is going to be over $55,000 and a Z4 will be over $60,000.
The idea here is one can find cars that can deliver a similar driving experience to a new car, for a fraction of the cost by purchasing a nice used car from the 90’s or early 2000’s. There are thousands of fun cars out there in the $4,000 to $16,000 price ranges out there with plenty of life left in them. Go to Auto trader and set the upper price limit at $16,000 and see how many cool cars there are out there for Under $16,000. Here’s a link to one I just pulled out of the San Diego AutoTrader. 1998 Porsche Boxster with 45,000 miles
Pretty sweet ride for less than $14K, I’d say. Put $3,000 down, finance it for three years and you’d own it free and clear before the next presidential election for around $300 a month. But, take a look at the link to RoadLoans in the advertisement and in the fine print, you’ll discover they don’t give loans on anything made before 2004, six years after this nice little roadster was made But don’t give up just yet. There is a myth out there that you can’t get financing on cars older than 10 years and there are still companies that are living in the 50’s and think that any car that is over a decade old is about to wear out and fall apart when it hits 100,000 miles. If you Google “How to finance a used car over 10 years old?” you’ll get all sorts of answers including advice from “experts” telling you how bad an idea it is and to go by something like a Chevy Cobalt with a new car warranty. That’s probably, in fact, the rational thing to do. But, if you’ve read this far, that might not apply to you———–
Modern cars are much more durable than that, many of them will now put 150,000 to 200,000 miles (or more)on the drive train, (Along with being serviced regularly) without having to be rebuilt. That’s not to say things don’t wear out, I replaced a bunch of stuff when I got my 1998 Z3; Water Pump, Belts, Fan Clutch, Control arms and ball joints, and am about to fit a new set of struts to it this weekend. But I planned on having to do that, and the car is simple enough for me to work on it myself. Anyone contemplating buying a used car can easily find out common faults and how often things are likely to need replacing by looking in online owners forums, and taking a prospective purchase to a mechanic to have them check a car out is also a very good idea.
Going back to the concept of the rational thing to do, you or I might not be in that category, but I can tell you someone who IS and that’s a banker. These are people with no emotional involvement with the car you want them to lend you money to buy, and they’re only going to let you do it if it makes business sense. And you’ll be happy to know that I talked to three of them on the phone who seemed more than willing to lend money on performance-oriented older cars. And all three would make loans to people who wanted to purchase a vehicle from a private party. So much for the advice of experts who say this is always a bad idea.
The first company I talked to about this that told me they were open to the idea was Nationwide, the same company that sells insurance and they told me that everything they do is on a case by case basis, depending on the circumstances, but that it someone called them they could take an application a pre-approve you for “X “amount of dollars and some guidelines for selecting a car.
You can find them online: http://www.nationwide.com/auto-loans.jsp
Nationwide can be reached by phone at:
The second company I spoke to was Wells Fargo and I had noticed they stated on their web site that cars manufactured more than 7 years ago as might NOT qualify, and when I told them this, they told me while that was true, there were many cars that might, and I read them off a list similar to the one at the bottom of the page and they said those were exactly the types of cars that might. They also told me that everything was handled on an individual basis and that the best thing to do was to call and get pre-approved. They said they only made loans in areas where Wells Fargo operates banks.
Wells Fargo’s Website is here: https://www.wellsfargo.com/autoloans/used
The Wells Fargo phone number is: 1-877-700-9345
Finally, the last place I contacted was the most helpful. I spoke to a man named “Chris” at JJ Best Banc and he understood exactly what sort of cars I was talking about and how they are the largest company of their kind in the United States, specializing in Antique Cars, Classic Cars, Exotic Cars, Kit Cars, Muscle Cars, Hot Rods, and Sports Cars as well as Antique Motorcycles, R.V.’s, Boats and Aircraft loans. They have traditionally specialized in cars made prior to 1990, but have expanded to include newer sports and performance cars. Chris also recognized that this was a new niche that a lot of companies might stay away from because they don’t understand the collateral involved. Chis was obviously a car guy himself and made me comfortable that people wouldn’t be greeted with: “What, you want us to lend you $10,000 on that ancient piece of crap!”. If you want to speak to someone who understands your hobby, I’d advise to you call and ask for Chris and be sure to tell him I sent you. You won’t get any better deal, but I’d like him to know I appreciated his time
Their website is here: https://www.jjbest.com/about_jjbest/about-jjbest.aspx
and a great FAQ page: https://www.jjbest.com/about_jjbest/faq.aspx
And here is the phone number, and be sure to ask for Chris: 800-872-1965
If I can find three potential lenders in less than an hour, there are probably more out there. The point I do want to make is that you don’t need to go to a dealer to get financing for an older performance car and it’s probably to your advantage to get financing arranged before you go out an look for a car. It’s a little beyond the scope of this blog to give anyone financial advice, save for telling you that finding loans for older cars is possible, but I do hope this might open the door for a possible purchase you might not have considered otherwise. OLD CARS RULE!!!!!!
Nissan 350Z, Porsche Boxster, BMW Z3, BMW Z4, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Camaro, Porsche 944, Toyota MR2 Spyder, Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Nissan 370Z, Infiniti G35, BMW M3, BMW 328, BMW 330, BMW528, Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, Volkswagen GTI, Audi TT, Audi Quattro, Mazda Miata, Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac GTO, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, Mercedes Benz