Jim’s Blog: Your Best Car Buy?

Our panel of experts is gearing up for our Scottsdale seminar, held at Barrett-Jackson next Wednesday morning. And while they’re going over what cars to buy and why — and sending me their picks so I can build our presentation for you — it got me thinking about what cars have been best buys for me in the past.

As much as I’d like to say my ’66 Caprice was my best buy of all time, it’s hard to look at it that way. I bought it in a pretty sad state in the late 1990s. Cost me $1,900 — or I should say it cost my dad $1,900 — and it just barely made it home before the rear axle bearings (and the pinion bearing) started screaming. We tore the car completely apart and spent a year rebuilding it. It’s had several motors and transmissions and cost me twice what it’s worth in today’s market. As much as I love the car, I can’t call it a best buy, as sentimental value doesn’t transfer across owners. I’m underwater in that one.

If I had to pick one, it was my ’72 K10. I bought it for $3,000 just as the market on old GM trucks was picking up. I then driver-level restored it, drove it around a lot, and just this past year sold it for $16,500, representing an OK profit once I subtracted the $9k or so I spent on it over five years. Had I spent more time and money correcting issues, I could have sold it for significantly more, but now the next owner gets to do all that and I’m on to the next thing. Not a bad deal.

What’s been your best car buy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.