30 Day Update on Etta – Guenther’s Successor and My Second Unicorn!

Because reader Patrick Barmann was kind enough to ask my thoughts on Etta, now that I’ve owned her for a few weeks, here’s what I’ve learned.  Every morning when I leave my house and see a 911 in the driveway I giggle a little – I can’t believe after 35 years of wanting one I did it.  The car is stupid fast at mid-range rpm, not so much off the mark.  It’s an automatic, and given it’s my daily driver and my hands are encumbered with coffee, a phone, Poptarts, etc., it’s the right call.  I haven’t run it to triple digit speeds (yet) and yet every exit ramp is my own slalom – I don’t get the engineering that makes a rear-engined car hug the road so?

The car has a fair amount of road noise and engine noise, and not just the satisfying roar of acceleration, but a constant amount of din that I hadn’t expected.  I’m sure real Porsche guys would tell me to get over it, but I’m also a music nut and when not thrashing the engine I’d like to hear some tunes.  So I ordered a new receiver and the ridiculously expensive fiber optic cable to keep the Bose amp and speakers, and next week I hope to have a better sound system installed.

The 911 came already safety inspected by CarMax.  Because I can be skeptical of CarMax’s mechanical standards, the day after I bought it I had a private garage do another Virginia state inspection.  The car failed.  An outer tire ride was shot.  I took the car back to CarMax and on a positive note, they replaced the failed outer tie rod AND an inner that had not failed, and because I was in the first 30 day warranty AND I have the extended warranty, it was no charge.  On the down side, not a hint of shame or remorse that they sold me a car they certified as meeting Virginia standards, and it did not.  Disappointed.

The irony of this Porsche 911 purchase is that I rejected not one but two Jaguar XKR’s because the ride was harsh.  Too harsh for a daily driver.  The 911’s ride is harsher than the Jags.  I rejected a V-10 M6 for $24,000 because the electronics and stereo were so primitive.  The 911’s are more antiquated.  The car is an icon and I love it.  Maybe I’ll get tired of the challenge of hoisting myself up from the seat that’s pretty much inches from the ground, and maybe I’ll want all the cool stuff that was in the Mercedes S600 V12 someday, but for now I find this Porsche 911 tremendously satisfying and I’m convinced I made the right call.   Continue reading “30 Day Update on Etta – Guenther’s Successor and My Second Unicorn!”

Meet Etta – Guenther’s Successor and My Second Unicorn!

Finally my 15 month search for my second unicorn is over!  Last night I bought Etta, a 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera.  Found her on a CarMax lot in Los Angeles – $36,998 and 34,000 miles.  Flew out in December to drive and I liked it – but the car did not have Bluetooth or Navigation as advertised.  Before I could get indignant, they dropped the price to $34,998.  I was in.  Had planned to buy the car and leave it behind, but had concerns about Virginia inspection a month later if that became my responsibility and not CarMax’s (there are inspection items that are not warranty items), and so I instead paid the $940 to have it transferred east.  It took about a month and last night I bought it and brought it home.  Paid another $3,000 for the warranty so out the door for $39,998 with taxes.  Base model, nothing fancy, automatic (it’s my commuter car), and ridiculously clean and unmolested.  Unfortunately, I am almost $5,000 over my unicorn budget but this is only the second 911 I’ve seen over the past year selling under $35,000 before taxes and MaxCare warranty (and I snagged both of them!) so no point in waiting longer for a cheaper one.  It’s now or never.  I love it.  Etta

2008 911 Ad


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””