Particulate Matters: For What It’s Worth
Some of you may recall the “Do I Miss Mustang?” Particulate Matters column , in which I explained my dilemma of owning several Ford Mustangs (four at that time) and two diesel pickups and coming to grips with the reality that I might be losing interest in Fox- (’79-to-’93) and other late-model ’Stangs. I struggled to find answers to two very serious questions: “Do we keep our Mustangs?” Or, “Do we sell ’em?”
Here’s quick history for first-time Diesel Power readers who don’t know me yet. I came into the diesel scene and my job as editor of this fine magazine by way of a long career in late-model Ford Mustang performance—first, as an enthusiast for many years, then as senior technical editor of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords from 2005 until it was closed in 2014. Yes, for all intents and purposes, I was a “Mustang guy” through and through, and fully embracing diesel was a bit of a challenge for me.
A lot has changed since I penned those musings for our October 2017 issue. First, I am a lot more committed to diesel now, and I honestly believe I’m in this game for the long haul. Not only do I “get” diesel from a mechanical standpoint (the trucks, drivetrains, modifications, and such), I’m also a lot more connected to and in sync with the diesel lifestyle, as well as the enthusiasts, shops, manufacturers, and organizations who make this scene so cool.
Which brings me to the news I want to share and a new dilemma that seemingly goes hand in hand with it. I’ve finally begun selling our Mustangs. My black ’90 LX coupe is gone—ironically, it was purchased by a fairly well-known member of the diesel community (who, for this report, shall remain nameless)—and it’s time for my green ’91 LX hatchback, the project car I call “Cheaper Sleeper,” to make its way to a new driveway or garage, too.
Rounding out the liquidation is my wife’s supercharged ’02 Mustang GT. It’s a car that is heavily modified with many of the best performance upgrades available for ’99-to -’04 ’Stangs, and, based on its mechanical makeup and overall pristine condition, I think it has a higher value than a stock or lesser-modified Pony of the same era. So, with that being said, here’s dilemma number two: To me—and longtime Mustang guys I’ve consulted with—it appears today’s modified-vehicle “buyers” are quick to look beyond fair prices and offer ridiculously low amounts or trades that shouldn’t be considered, unless, of course, desperation warrants taking short money (and this relates to equally outfitted diesel trucks as easily as it does with Mustangs).
I believe there’s an element of “buy-low, sell-high” mentality in effect when this happens, with folks more interested in “coming up” and scoring profit from a flip than purely wanting a car, truck, boat, or any vehicle simply for what it is and to use and enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I like getting a good deal as much as the next man. By truck-guy standards, I got a fantastic deal when I bought my ’95 F-350 for $12,000 from its original owner in 2005.
Diesel Power’s staff back then all agreed it was a win. But, the acquisition didn’t come by way of me trying to undercut the owner, Mr. Kennedy, by several thousand dollars less than the amount for which he advertised Big White. And, more importantly, I didn’t immediately list the truck for sale after we closed the deal to try and make the money that was left on the proverbial table. I wanted the truck, needed it, and continue to use my rig every day.
I’m not writing this with a secret wish that someone will contact me about Crystal’s Mustang GT. Not at all. I just want to say I hope those of you who are or will be shopping to buy someone’s truck or other vehicle really think about exactly what you’re trying to purchase. Consider the components it has (modifications, upgrades, and so on), its condition (low mileage, mechanically sound). All of this factors into what I believe will ultimately be a fair price that will make both sides happy.
On behalf of all the sellers out there, I ask that buyers stop trying to get something for (theoretically) nothing, especially if your intent is to keep—not flip. Estimate what a truck’s true worth is and offer it. The lowball stuff is a waste of time. Pay what it’s worth.