What happened to the prices?

I feel like last year you could pick up a decent cougar for 10 grand and eliminators if you didnt go to a dealership for ~30-40k! Now rollers with no motors rusted out are going for 8-10? Was it featured in a tv show or music video or something? Why the price hike?

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It’s not a price hike. It’s runaway inflation. Same thing happened when Carter was in office.

We went to the dealership and were told the Rav4 Prime XSE now has a 2.5 year waiting list and we are guaranteed to pay more than sticker. Normally I would not buy a salvage title car for my wife but desperate times call for desperate measures.


WCCC no longer can buy parts cars as anything with a title is $2k and some folks poke out their chest for $5k as mentioned above for a roller.

Lots of currency created during covid and now more currency than ever is chasing fewer goods and services than ever.

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Too bad they don’t include pictures of the actual undercarriage damage on that Rav 4. The rest of it looks good, so hopefully you got to take a short drive to look it over. Good luck.

Inflation has little to do with the price of muscle cars, especially Cougars. If you look at Hagerty charts from 2008 until now, prices in 2008 were high despite the banks over-lending and tanking the economy. You will all recall: the Fed Govt. had to bail them out. A lot of people have made (until very recently) a lot of money in the market and are spending that money, driving prices up. Its supply and demand, and with 100 Mustangs made for every Cougar, that is also part of the equation. Also, the prices were climbing long before inflation hit.

It was repaired several thousand miles ago and seems fine

Almost like a new car, but without the premium.

As Im sure you know be very careful with salvage title stuff as most of the time they are very poorly put back together often times with poor practices. such as replacing the sections of seats, panels and trim that are blown apart by air bag deployments without replacing the air bags, they then defeat the warning lights so no one is the wiser. I have seem some very shady stuff behind the straight panels and shiny paint.

Make sure you crawl over that thing headlight to taillight and top to bottom before buying. I would not buy site unseen.

Yes, I admittedly I am one of those that when buying wrecked beaters for my 5 children cut corners on the repairs. Instead of taking a car to a body shop and fixing a quarter properly I will employ the local paintless dent removal guy and get it “close enough”. On my 2014 Chevy Volt shop parts runner, if you were to remove the interior you would find all sorts of pull marks and wrinkles where we worked on the B pillar. $1.50 to charge it overnight and my all in cost on a car with under 9000 miles was only $5000. On a third rate salvage title car, when my family is done with it we can hand it to the next person with a clear conscience as we often just give them away to a needy person. The reason these COPART cars go cheap is they often NEVER will be the same thus the totaled status.

Folks being beneficiaries of currency creation and driving up asset valuations to nose bleed values is exactly what inflation results in. And yes, newly created units of account have to land somewhere, classic cars being just one class of asset being inflated. What I am getting is folks giving up on taking on a project and coming to the realization that even at inflated prices a restored Cougar pencils out better than a project.

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Buying a wrecked beater and fixing it up to acceptable good enough status is one thing( I just did that to a honda to commute in). Buying a rebuilt or salvage title that looks great is another. So many ways to cut corners just to pass off and perfect you gotta be careful. I have seen so many scary repair jobs over the years I would never feel comfortable buying one without knowing the history of the damage and repair. More so with the newer the vehicle as the repair value has to be that much higher based on the value of the vehicle. Like I said Im sure its not your first rodeo and you know what your doing as this crazy market has got us all looking at alternatives.

There is a rebuildable autos dealer down the road from me that sells salvage title cars. He moves a lot of them.
In PA, before you can register/title a car as “rebuilt”, it must pass an “enhanced” vehicle inspection process, which encompasses the regular motor vehicle inspection, plus things like frame, structural components, etc.
Motor vehicle inspections in PA are private shops as compared to state-run. Not all shops can perform these “enhanced” inspections.

Interestingly, we are very close to the NJ border. I know for regular PA titled vehicles are that are sold and titled in NJ - owner history (prefix on the title) does not transfer to NJ - so in NJ the "x"th owner can appear as original owner per the title. I have heard (unconfirmed) that a salvage title in PA is “washed” when titled in NJ, and the salvage/rebuilt title becomes a standard title. If true - that may explain why this business is only single digit miles from the NJ border.