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.”

I May Be Nuts – Passing on a $31,000 S600 V12 Unicorn

2009 s600 $30,998 50K

This car surfaced on 10/27 and within the hour I had it on hold.  At my local CarMax no less.  Saw it and loved it.  Flawless, with “Designo” interior.  Every feature you could ever want.  Night vision.  Distronic.  V12.  0-60 in 4.5 seconds.   Has all three levels of options.  One owner.  Was over $150,000 new and selling for $30,998.  The MaxCare warranty is below.  It’s also reasonable.  Could be out the door for $40,000.   BUT I decided it’s huge (it’s long wheel base model) and too much like Guenther, the S55 I sold.  So back in the market for a sports car.  But if nobody buys this by Monday maybe………


Five Quick Hits! BMW 650, CTS V, MX-5, Shelby, and a Corvette.

2006 Miata $13599 34k
Not sure if I’m most surprised by the price or the stupid low miles.  Yes it’s an automatic, but cute and cheap.

The CarMax Link – 2006 Miata

2007 CTS V Sedeqn $25,998 27k
This is a rare one!  Ten year old 400hp CTS V Sedan with driven less than $2,700 miles yearly.   

The CarMax Link – 2007 CTS V

2008 Mustang Shelby GT500 $27,998 47k
A 500hp beast for under $28,000!  Mileage is still low at 6,000 yearly.

The CarMax Link – 2008 Shelby GT500

2008 Corvette $28,998 9k
9,000 Miles? Why don’t these people drive their cars????!!!!

The CarMax Link – 2008 Corvette

2007 BMW 650 CiC $18,998 39k
Less than $20,000 for a BMW 650.  Horsepower a little low for me but a helluva lot of fun for the price and low miles.

The CarMax Link – 2007 BMW 650 CiC

Uber Unicorns Choices – Two Dozen Great CarMax Lyfts for $20,000 …..or So

If I needed a decent, unusual, reliable, or unreliable but cool car with a great warranty to go into business for über or Lyft, I would choose from this batch.   Welcome thoughts.

Land Rover and Jaguar XF
Big and Rich.  Your pickups will feel like celebrities in these V8 powered classy cars from the UK.
A pair of Mercedes – the E350 at $16k and it will last forever – S550 is pricey but oh so luxurious!
Audi and S550 72000 mi
White Knights – A pair of 72,000 mile German sedans – V6 and V8 powered.  
STS Town Car
Something more traditional? Big American sedans at a bargain price.
Marquis and Crown Vic - Bench Seats
Grandpa Uber – Big ol’ bench seat sedans! – Marquis and Crown Vic cousins.
Slow but Smart Impala Choices
Slow, but Impalas nonetheless.  The LT looks cop car.  The LS really well equipped (but a 4 cyl!)
Uber XL - SUV
Back to Big – A pair of XL’s.  The Hummer would be the baddest über ever.
Toyotas Big and Small
Toyotas Big and Small – Owned an Avalon once and loved it.  The Matrix makes sense.
Low Mileage - Regal and 300
Stupid low miles – beautiful baby Buick and a cheap Chrysler with a little 6 cylinder.
Sensible - Honda Accord and S80
Sensible Cars – a Volvo and Honda good for another 150,000 miles!
Acura TL and Genesis
Oddballs – Nobody knows what an RL is (they’re nice) or that Genesis’ are so luxurious.
Cooper and Sable
The cutest, a Mini, and the mysterious, a Mercury for $11k and less than 4,000 miles a year!

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!”

BMW Unicorns – $24,000 M6’s, $30,000 750’s, and Other Highs and Lows from Munich.

2007 M6I just passed on the $23,998 2007 M6  above with 44,000 miles and wondering if I blew it.  Not often you get a chance at a unicorn  like this.  Even with a $6,400 MaxCare warranty to cover me for five years and up to 100,000 miles, this was a good deal.  But even though the V10 revving to 8,000 rpm made me silly, the suspension beat the hell our of me much as the M5 did on a test drive last year, so I opted out for my daily commuter.  Mistake?  I don’t know.  It vanished from the internet within minutes of me releasing my hold.  I documented the car when it was in NJ before it moved to VA, and you can only see the price from my appointment confirmation. 9/22/2017 Update – I just passed on this car a second time.  It resurfaced in Maple Shade, NJ and I went and drove it.  Fantastic car – no blemishes.  Finally learned to soften the suspension and I think I could get used to the double-clutching automatic.  Sales rep showed me the CarFax – car spent its life in Georgia for the most part and bizarrely, its last 16 months in my town in Virginia.  Intrigued.  BUT…while it has Bluetooth it’s voice only – no music, and virtually no modern infotainment.  Picky, but I passed.  Would have been $31,000 out the door with five-year warranty.   Sigh.  

2007 M6 $24,998 52k

Take comfort, as of this writing the convertible M6 at left was still available!

So check out these other BMW’s available below for cheap on CarMax.  I picked the highest and lowest priced of about a half-dozen or more enthusiast cars and I could own almost any one of them as a daily driver!


Let’s start with almost everybody’s favorite sports coupe, the M3.  CarMax has 29 of them on the lot as of early September 2017, some as low as $26,998 but stupid high mileage, and a 2017 for $66,000 (and a Frozen Limited Edition for $47k – what the hell is that?).  But in our unicorn world of $35,000 or less and 60,000 miles or less Continue reading “BMW Unicorns – $24,000 M6’s, $30,000 750’s, and Other Highs and Lows from Munich.”

Mercedes Unicorns – Twins and Triplets From $20,000 – Part I – Three E-Class Sedans (W211)

Too many Mercedes unicorns to cover in one post so let’s start with three E-class units on the lot as of late August 2017.   Focusing on the 2007-2009 E550 and E63 because they are affordable and few.  There are countless 2010-2011’s out there with the newer body but no more horsepower.  The 2012 and above E-class cars have the higher horsepower (402 vs 382) with far more amenities and are starting to become available in unicorn territory ($35,000 or less with 60,000 miles or less).

2007 E550 $20,998 23kAt the low end is this 2007 E550 with only 23,000 miles in Florida.  Something about the softer lines of the W211 that appeal to me.   Adjustable suspension, heated and air conditioned seats, but no Bluetooth or rear view camera.  Add a 100,000 mile warranty and you’ve got the basics of a daily driver for years to come and at $20,998 seems cheap.   Surprised it has lasted a week on the lot.

Continue reading “Mercedes Unicorns – Twins and Triplets From $20,000 – Part I – Three E-Class Sedans (W211)”

Mercedes Unicorns Part II – A Pair of Cute CLK550’s from $15,000! (W209)

The CLK-Class coupe predated the E-Class coupe and with a 382hp V8 the mid-sized 3,700 pounds can clip five second 0-60 times.  It was once a $55,000 car and can be had for $15-20,000 plus the MaxCare warranty for years of enthusiastic driving.  Described as a luxury car, although the 2007 models had no Bluetooth or similar modern amenities – a quick trip to Best Buy can fix that for a hundred dollars.  I think these cars are bargains.  Let’s look at a couple.  Contemporary Review – 2007 CLK550

2007 CLK550 $14,998 55kThis Oregon car is still on the lot as of late August 2017.  I can’t find anything visually wrong although with 55,000 miles it’s at the high end for a unicorn.  I have the luxury of a free long term temporary car while I search for my next unicorn.  If I didn’t have that I’d buy this as a stopgap daily driver until I found something more special.  Also a great car for a college kid – with MaxCare no repairs.

Continue reading “Mercedes Unicorns Part II – A Pair of Cute CLK550’s from $15,000! (W209)”

Mercedes Unicorns Part III – A Trio of Affordable CL550 Coupes (C216)

The CL550 is an enigma to me.  Built on an S-class platform but heavier, no B-pillar, nice curves, just enough horsepower at 382, and 5 second 0-60mph times.  But I’ve never sat in one let alone taken a spin and not sure why I’m not jumping at one of the bargains below.  Perhaps because I saw a raging CL63 AMG appear and vanish on the CarMax website in about 20 minutes last spring, never to return again.  Maybe I’m waiting on a V12 CL600?  One thing I know is they are rare.  I’ve spotted only two in Northern Virginia in the past year. Listing for over $100,000 when new they meet my “I got a deal!” standard.

Car and Driver 2007 CL Review

2008 CL550 $22,998 54kThis 2008 car stunned me.  The few CL550’s that surface have always been in the $30,000 and up range and left me wondering about spending that much on a 10-year-old car.  Other than rare and luxurious I wasn’t sold.  But at $22,998 I am shocked.   An LA car with Bluetooth and rear view camera, not to mention Distonic.  Smoker car I’m wondering?  It’s about $10,000 less than its peers.  Usually when I see a car this far below the others I smell a rat.  They pop up and vanish quickly and I wonder if a deal was cut before the car came to market but CarMax has to bring it online to sell?  Who knows?  Grab it. It will be gone by this weekend.

Continue reading “Mercedes Unicorns Part III – A Trio of Affordable CL550 Coupes (C216)”