2008 Jaguar XJ8 – The Last of My Kind

Stole the title from Jason Isbell’s song.  This Jaguar has less than 3,000 miles annually, all in the Chicago area, a decent V8, and is one of about 44,000 made (X350 model I believe but no Jaguar expert).  I can’t find a more plush cruiser for $21k.  I considered one of these as there are very, very few carried by CarMax (one every few months) and the five year bumper to bumper warranty made me worry less about reliability, but my wife and daughter decreed it an old man’s car.  But what a nice ride.  Car makes me want to put a rod from coat hanger to coat hanger in the back seat, hang my wardrobe, and drive to Florida.  2008 Jaguar XJ8 Van Den Plas $20,998 27,000 miles

A Curious Cat – Baby Jaguar with a V8, Low Miles and Low Price

CarMax occasionally offers a Jaguar XJ8 and these S-Types at low prices.  The magic remains the MaxCare warranty……don’t care how unreliable it is if I’m not paying for repairs. Wasn’t a fan of the S-Type but it’s an unusual, clean little sedan with a 300hp V8 that spent 10 years in Illinois driving 3,000 miles a year before moving to Florida in December.  Here’s the link if interested – if the link is dead it’s on hold/sold/being transferred.

2007 Jaguar S-Type $14,998 35k

Five Obscure Unicorns for $10-$24k……. or Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder?

Writing this post for my new friends at the Facebook page “Obscure Cars For Sale 2.0” who think like me.  There are unusual cars out there that somebody loves.  Here’s my first five CarMax “unicorns” aka Obscure Cars for Sale.  I hope you enjoy them.

2006 Ford Mustang GT 7k $18599 Cincy
How do you drive this car only 600 miles a year?

The only think obscure about this 2006 Mustang GT is the crazy low miles – 7,000!  It’s brand new inside and out, and priced the same as a Honda Civic and way more fun. Throw in a MaxCare warranty for about $2,000 and you can drive this car until 2023 – when it’s 17 years old – and another 143,000 miles without a repair bill.  It’s a 300hp V-8 in Cincinnati.  Love it. Here’s the link to the CarMax ad.  If it’s dead the car is either sold, on hold, or in transit to another dealer.  I’ll keep tracking it.

2008 VW Eos VR6 $12,998 58k
Do NOT call this a chick car!



It’s cute as a button, German, cheap, and has a convertible hard top.  But this little guy has the underappreciated VW-Audi 3.2 liter six-cylinder pumping out 250 hp.  It also has a DSG transmission.  What’s that you ask?  It’s a Direct Shift Gearbox, an electronically controlled dual clutch automatic designed by Porsche that snap shifts stupid fast.

This is a sleeper version of a Golf-R32.  Find this one-owner VW in Naperville, Ill and the CarMax page here.

Continue reading “Five Obscure Unicorns for $10-$24k……. or Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder?”

The $577 Million Car Loan and Other Fascinating CarMax “Analytics”

Small 73000
The total cars on the lot around noon, November 18th 2017.  The numbers fluctuated by hundreds between the beginning and completion of this blog, rendering all my calculations estimates.

The CarMax nationwide inventory jumped from just over 40,000 cars in the summer of 2017 to over 73,000 today.  That’s the highest it’s been since I started tracking CarMax unicorns a year ago and it got me pondering on all things cosmic CarMax.  For example, that 33,000 plus-up in stock equals a staggering $577 million* investment in cars in just a few months.  I’m thinking like you and me, CarMax didn’t pay cash and owed somebody a helluva lot of money.  You think they get dealer financing? I’m thinking CarMax needs to move some cars and hoping there are more unicorns and lower prices!

*The average CarMax vehicle sells for $19,677 with a gross profit of $2,178, indicating a rough guess each car costing CarMax $17,489.  See “CarMax Reports Second Quarter Results, September 22, 2017″.

So I decided to do my own homemade “analytics” and dive deeper on what makes up an inventory of 73,000 cars.  CarMax knows what they’re doing, and I suspect their inventory largely reflects what America wants in a car.  So here’s what I learned. Continue reading “The $577 Million Car Loan and Other Fascinating CarMax “Analytics””

Fooled Me Twice….500 Mile Journey to See a Jaguar That Won’t Start…and I Hate.

RaleighWith every car I don’t buy I get smarter on this whole process.  Or maybe dumber.  Eventually I’m going to score a Porsche for the price of a Pinto, or I’ll give up and buy a minivan.  Writing from a hotel room north of Raleigh, where I went to see this 2011 Jaguar XK. Not an XKR, but at $26,998 and only 34,000 miles I thought it might be the bucket list Jaguar for me without spending too much.  I had set aside my pursuit of the Mercedes S600 (for now), thinking I can always buy a big sedan, but my knees and back are suggesting time is short for a sports car.


IMG_5988 (1)I thought the Jaguar looked vaguely familiar, a lot like the one I saw briefly in Baltimore last summer and was aghast at the pock-marked front fascia and more than a few touch up paint blemishes on the driver side.  It was an XK that looked like it was half-way through puberty.  But I never made an appointment to see it in Baltimore, just stopped by and eye-balled it, and couldn’t find the original ad.  So I asked the young sales rep in Raleigh if this could be the same car.  He sent me photos, and sure enough, the front end was clean and I hatched a plan to go see it. Continue reading “Fooled Me Twice….500 Mile Journey to See a Jaguar That Won’t Start…and I Hate.”

Cool Cats – Jaguars Across the USA for $18-33k, Including an XKR!

Let’s start with the Jaguar unicorn ($35,000 or less, 60,000 miles or less) that got away not once but twice.  You can find the details in the search for my next car here   but I’ve found two 2010 Jaguar XKR’s with low mileage, under $33,000, and wimped out both times.  This is the car that I rue regularly.  I’ve added the CarMax purchase order and MaxCare warranty at the bottom of this post so you can see how a deal might look.

But in the meantime, the search continues and I’ve tracked the cars below that I hope are of interest to you.  Today there are 101 Jaguars on CarMax lots nationwide and 14 of them meet my unicorn standards – and have V8’s.  I’ve included a pair of XJ’s, a quad of XF’s, a lonely XKR, and a few cars that were once on the market and gone….for now.  I started the post last night and this morning the XF and XKR are gone.  While editing this morning this ridiculously low-mileage  2010 XK   surfaced in Las Vegas.   I welcome suggestions on making this more relevant for the reader, and please sign up at the bottom if you’d like updates. Continue reading “Cool Cats – Jaguars Across the USA for $18-33k, Including an XKR!”

First Five Fabulous Unicorns

I have a couple of dozen (about 50 really) CarMax unicorns tagged but wanted to open with a sampling of what’s on the lot today.  Again, my bar is $35,000 or less, 60,000 miles or less, an enthusiast car, and relatively exclusive.  Your standards may vary.  So here they are in no particular order:

2007 MB CL550 $26,998 34k 8-9-17

2007 Mercedes CL550 – The “big coupe” from Mercedes – the two door version of the S-class, originally a $100,000 car.   You can read the review from the link below.   It’s the third generation CL and has everything a top of the line Mercedes should have – in 2007.   What I like? It’s big, exclusive, comfortable, well-appointed with Distronic auto cruise control, cheap, low miles (driven only 3,400 miles yearly), and you can get a warranty for the next five years. I like that with only 34,000 miles CarMax will likely give an affordable warranty to 75,000 miles – but I would take all they offer that I could afford.  What I don’t like?  No bluetooth. Ad says rear view camera but I doubt it – CarMax photo spread almost always shows a shot of the rear view camera in action if it has one.  Rear view photo of the car doesn’t show one.  I don’t like less than 400hp but 382 ain’t bad.  I also don’t like that this car is not transferable and is 3,000 miles away from me.  I would give it serious consideration.  I’ll bet it’s gone in days, although there’s also a 2009 CL550 on the lot at $32,998 that hasn’t moved in a week.  We shall see!

Car and Driver Review CL550

2011 BMW M3 – The “benchmark” sport coupe per the review below, and the best everyday sports car I can imagine.  I’ve owned a 3-series.  Everything is in the right place.  M3’s are tough to find in my unicorn category.  Once a $70,000 car, most are close to the $35,000 unicorn limit, have 70-80,000 miles on them and are 8-10 years old.  I have a hard time paying that much for that old with that mileage.  So I like the balance of price and mileage here.   I like the SMG transmission and 400hp.  I’m not a big fan of the hard top convertible only because I own a convertible. Otherwise it’s the best of both worlds.  Don’t know why, but the hard top convertibles sell at a discount over the hard top coupes.  If you like these then you’re in luck!   A little short on amenities but you can’t have a bad day in an M3.

Autoweek Review – 2011 M3

Continue reading “First Five Fabulous Unicorns”