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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm considering getting a 1990 NA to replace my Ford Thunderturd as a DD. I was wondering what some of you here think would be a reasonalbe price to pay for it. I'll list as much information as I can but I don't have pictures as it's not my car yet. I'm aware of the short nose crank situation but this is going to be for DD'ing and it's not like I can't get another 1.6 for less than $800 if the crank were to fail on me (obviously don't want to do that but if worst comes to worst). I can't really go by blue book because as we all know the older the car is the less likely it is to be around the true KBB for the car. The guy is asking $3200 for it but I'm not interested in paying anything close to that, however I don't want to hardcore lowball him right off the bat and miss out on the possibility of still getting it for realistic money. He claims he's in no hurry to sell the car since he's pre-approved for a loan for a newer car and money isn't tight for him right now so he may be less likely to haggle with me but we'll see.

It's important to note this car is being sold in northern CA, it was originally a southern CA car so no rust, and unfortunately older 90's era sporty Japanese cars like Miata's, Civic's, 240SX's, AE86's, Integra's, RX7's, CRX's, Supra's, and MR2's hold their value better than other places around here. Realistically getting a clean, running, not hacked to sh*t Miata or any other car listed above around here for less than 2k (even totally stock) is rare. I paid $2100 for a completely stock 1995 Civic Hatchback 5spd about a year ago with 193k miles for comparison and that was the cheapest one I could find that wasn't a complete bucket or had 350k+ on the clock.

So back to the NA:
-1990 Mariner Blue with a Clean Title
-146k miles
-Original paint, clearcoat is starting to peel but color is still in decent shape
-Body is straight, worst cosmetic damage is door dings and the trunk was keyed in one straight line
-Engine runs okay, doesn't apear to leak large amounts of oil although I noticed the CAS might have a minor leak from it
-Transmission is a little notchy/clicky but doesn't grind or anything, more than likely the shifter mechanism is just getting old
-Clutch feels alright, no idea when it was replaced last though, release point is fairly high on the pedal
-Rear end is supposedly a VLSD, so it's an open differential now either way haha.
-Interior is stock and in decent shape
-Has P/S, A/C (needs recharge)
-Manual windows, locks, mirrors
-All gauges and lights work
-Seats have small tears or holes in them
-Wiring under the steering wheel has been out for some reason, owner says he was removing a cheap alarm system that was on it when he got it
-Soft top is in decent shape but the plastic rear window is a lovely brown
-Car drives straight, brakes feel adequate for the time being
-Car has relatively new Tein basic (not sure of the exact model but not the super fancy ones) coilovers
-Coilovers have been at stock ride height basically since new (guy says he slammed it but hated it so changed it back after a week or two)
-Has aftermarket no name ugly wheels in a random, terrible offset with curb rash
-Despite nasty wheels it has pretty new tires which I could re-use on better wheels I'm sure
-Speedo jumps around a lot within a 5mph window in which you're traveling, don't know if that's normal I had a MK1 MR2 that did that too though
-Has a Home Depot special front lip that's falling off
-A/C needs to be retro-fitted and recharged (still has r12 ports on it, not going to pay $100/lb for r12 when I can get pure r134a for $7/lb due to my freon handler's license)
-Starter looked to be newer but can't know for sure
-No records for last time timing belt and water pump was replaced or a major service, assuming I'm going to be taking care of this right after I buy it for safety
-No records for transmission or differential services so assuming the worst in that the fluids are the original Mazda fluid from the lot
-Underbody checked out alright, frame rails aren't smashed and are straight, no obvious major leaks I could spot, all suspension and bracing components seem to be there
-All glass was good, no cracks or chips I could spot
-Upper control arms need to be replaced but he says he has new ones that will come with the car
-Dipstick finger loop is broken, I'm very disappointed...

That's about the whole of it, can't really think of anything else that stood out good or bad. Wish it had a hardtop since I hate all convertible cars but whatever, I'll just save up and buy one ASAP.

So what should I pay for this all factors considered? $3200 I can't justify because I could never make that back either parting it or selling as a whole cleaned up if I needed to. I want to make a smart investment because at the end of the day it's a hunk of metal so if I can't get my money back if I needed to it's not worth buying in the first place. Thanks for your thoughts and advice. I know a lot about cars but I'm still somewhat new to Miatas specifically (only had my NB for 6 months) so that's why I'd like more price opinions because I have any mechanical/electrical/gypsy problems I might encounter under control.
 

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LL cool Dave
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Just buy my NB for $800 more then that NA and you'll have a wayyy better DD
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just buy my NB for $800 more then that NA and you'll have a wayyy better DD
Link me to your for sale ad, I'd be interested. I like NBs more than NAs anyway.

Tad bit over priced with that many miles. Def in california.
Yep, gotta love CA's import scene, jacking up beater car prices since 95 yo!

1500-2000 TOPS and i think that's generous, but idk.
I'll never find anything decent for 1500, besides I want something worth more than that so I'm not constantly fixing it. 2000 is realistic for the car but like I said I doubt he'd go that low, although it isn't worth much more than 2000 to me either. Kinda walking a fine line with this one on price vs pissed off neighbor.
 

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If he won't take at least $2,400, walk away. It's not worth it IMO for a beat up 1.6 that also has the short nose crank issue :/
 

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$3200 is crack pipe pricing. You're probably looking at about $750-1000 in parts to refurb the car to "clean".

Timing belt kit
Waterpump
Gaskets
Used interior pieces
clean used soft top
A/C recharge
Paint reconditioning, if possible
shifter rebuild.
Asst. seals and parts

Something that stands out to me immediately in your description is peeling clearcoat. The early Miatas use a single stage paint, no clearcoat.

$2000 is the most I would pay. I think you will find better examples with more time and as springtime comes back. The people selling them now, for the most part, are desperate or can't afford to fix the car. A $3200 NA6 (90-93) would have to be really pretty clean and good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If he won't take at least $2,400, walk away. It's not worth it IMO for a beat up 1.6 that also has the short nose crank issue :/
Yeah I was thinking 2400 was the highest I'd be willing to go to.

I'll take a look.

$3200 is crack pipe pricing. You're probably looking at about $750-1000 in parts to refurb the car to "clean".

Something that stands out to me immediately in your description is peeling clearcoat. The early Miatas use a single stage paint, no clearcoat.

$2000 is the most I would pay. I think you will find better examples with more time and as springtime comes back. The people selling them now, for the most part, are desperate or can't afford to fix the car.
Yeah I'm aware wheels, a hard top or new plastic rear window, and some other touch up stuff would put me at about another 1000-1500 but considering I'm spending almost 200 a month a gas alone for the Thunderf*ck it's still an improvement. If they used a single stage paint then is it that initial layer that's peeling? It loks like when your skin is peeling almost, paint and body work is the one area of cars I'm not all that familiar with so I appreciate the input, any more advice is wlecome with regards to why the paint looks this way.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Easy there no need to get mouthy, I've been looking for not only a Miata but other small 4cyl imports for a while, this one just happened to be one I've been to see in person so I figured I'd simply ask. More than likely I'll pass on it but if the price is right I might not, thats all.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I made him an offer today and he said no which is what I figured. He wants to sit on the price which is fine with me, just time to get back on the hunt. Thanks for the opinions on what it was worth. Admin or Mod may lock or delete at their pleasure.
 

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with the issues you stated, that is a 15-1600 car all day long..

shoot..i just sold a 96 yesterday with fewer miles and fewer issues for 2500..and no rust
 
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