I think I found my next beater!

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Aug 3, 2017
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2,236
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MN
1998 Olds Cutlass

First off: flame away. I know I'm crazy for even considering a 25 year old N-body in questionable shape. Hear me out...

The seller and I agreed on a price of $500, which in today's market is darn near free for any vehicle with under 200k miles. This has but 129k. AC and heat are claimed to work, and the seller told me that the rear brake lines have been replaced.

It's a 3100/4T60e combo, relatively bulletproof with basic care. The body may be rough, but the interior looks beautiful. I couldn't care less about exterior aesthetics, I judge used cars by the state of their interior. Especially older examples. Very few people care about the outward appearance of their beaters, however those that drive beaters while keeping them reliable tend to take great care of the interior while those who drive a beater to beat it are polar opposite.

I plan on keeping my WJ at least until spring, at which time I'll decide what to do with it. While I enjoy having two vehicles, I'd love to see my Jeep go to someone who will put in the time to make it the off road crawler it could be.
 

14Accent

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If it's not a complete rust bucket...for $500...why not!?
How bad is it? color?

It's the typical Teal over Grey. Pics are in the link. It's definitely not mint, but I asked specifically about the chassis and that's when the replacement brake line was mentioned. N-bodies aren't known for chassis rot, just the rocker panels and exterior panels.
 

dishdude

$100 Site Donor 2023
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It's the typical Teal over Grey. Pics are in the link. It's definitely not mint, but I asked specifically about the chassis and that's when the replacement brake line was mentioned. N-bodies aren't known for chassis rot, just the rocker panels and exterior panels.

I missed the link! That right quarter is a bit banged up but the rest of the car looks great. I'd rock it. I'll trade you a Corolla for it 🤣
 

JHZR2

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Dec 14, 2002
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New Jersey
Looks like it has been hit. Who knows what other issues it has. A beater it surely is… it’s not that old… late 90s is practically new! But do you really want to drive around in a bashed up car? If that’s ok, then… ok!
 
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As long as it isn't completely rusted out for 500 bucks how could you possibly go wrong. I'd take the deal too if I had it.
 

14Accent

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Looks like it has been hit. Who knows what other issues it has. A beater it surely is… it’s not that old… late 90s is practically new! But do you really want to drive around in a bashed up car? If that’s ok, then… ok!

Years ago, I would have cared. Now? What's the difference. A car is a tool, no more no less. Much like the tools I use at work: as long said tool performs the same or similar with the alternative which costs 3x the price, what do I care? The brake caliper I'm replacing doesn't know a HF ratchet from a Snappy.

As long as it serves it's function, I'm happy.
As long as it isn't completely rusted out for 500 bucks how could you possibly go wrong. I'd take the deal too if I had it.

My thoughts exactly!
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
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Canada
"Seats 7"?

Looks like it would be a okay ride for a few years. For $500 it's a good deal if it starts and the engine sounds alright and the trans shifts.

Pull out the dent and rattle can the rust, used tail light and it would look better and last longer.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2013
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NY
Even if you scrap it you would get at least $200 for it plus if it has its catalytic converter the car is easily worth $500 in cats and scrap alone. I just sold the old cat of my honda accord for $550 so they are worth something
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
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3,984
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Muncie, Indiana
1998 Olds Cutlass

First off: flame away. I know I'm crazy for even considering a 25 year old N-body in questionable shape. Hear me out...

The seller and I agreed on a price of $500, which in today's market is darn near free for any vehicle with under 200k miles. This has but 129k. AC and heat are claimed to work, and the seller told me that the rear brake lines have been replaced.

It's a 3100/4T60e combo, relatively bulletproof with basic care. The body may be rough, but the interior looks beautiful. I couldn't care less about exterior aesthetics, I judge used cars by the state of their interior. Especially older examples. Very few people care about the outward appearance of their beaters, however those that drive beaters while keeping them reliable tend to take great care of the interior while those who drive a beater to beat it are polar opposite.
given what I know of people that typically own these cars, "basic care" is not something that's done, there's a reason almost all of these are in the junk yard or have been scrapped these days, they were low cost cars and most people did not take care of them, also a V6 in a compact chassis is not fun to work on.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
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1,363
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The Woods of NY
didn't the 3100 have intake gasket and or head gasket issues? I know on my 90's gm V6's coil packs and MAF sensor were normal replacements to fix misfires and stalling :LOL:

For 500 bucks though I would take the gamble.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2010
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Champlain/Hudson Valley
I missed the link too.
Years ago I fired up the Buick equivalent (w/3800) a neighbor had simply parked behind a berm.
I snapped some pics and put it on the net for him. Three states phoned in (Mass., NY, Vt.).
After all was said and done another neighbor bought it for $600. Similar mileage.
He too had to replace a brake line (or two?). It was driving OK when they moved away.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2008
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NH
You sure its not a rust bucket? that last pic looks bad-contrast with the first, and I think they are hiding rot in the rear.

Maybe its not so bad, but to me, it looks rusty, and I’d be spending a fair amount of time underneath looking to see what else has rust.
 
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Cow Hampshire
Growing up my friend from just over NH border in Western Maine had these kind of cars at age 13 and we called them field beaters.

Basically not inspectable cars usuallly acquired for $50-$100 and we would get months of entertainment on the “track” of dirt from a ripped up field from us racing. So much fun.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
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Suburban Washington DC
No inspection in MN? Around here you could easily spend another $2,000 to get it inspected. Oh wait, it's over 20 years old. Here you could get historic tags and avoid having to get it inspected. The $100 title fee is annoying though.
 
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