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Around where I live, you can find a low mileage clean tbird or cougar on craigslist for 1500 to 2000 dollars. For such a reliable car why did the value depreciate so much in comparison to other v8/sporty cars of the same era? Is it because of the demographic the MN12 was aimed to? And also with these cars being crushed and recycled more and more every day, do you think the value will raise again and perhaps become somewhat of a collectible platform? Share your thoughts.
 

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It's a bit of a can of worms topic, but to answer the first question:

Right now these cars are at their absolute nadir of their depreciation, for the last 10 or so years any one you'd see on the road was probably a cheap beater for someone poor and many are going to make that association for some time to come. On top of that, and even fueling it, they aren't particularly practical if you have kids - a problem ALL 2 doors face now a days due to child seat laws(really the primary reason IMO 4/5 doors are the norm today) - In addition to that they don't get particularly great mileage for the kind of power they make, especially compared to newer cars, and they suck in the snow and have terrible rust resistance. It's pretty much a 1-2-3 punch knocking and holding their values down

Second Question: Yes, but only partially I think. With internet exposure there's probably more people in the world who actually know about the merits these cars have than when they were new/newer with their original owners. 10-15 years ago your average person would think these were FWD Taurus coupes. Having said that, these cars never gained much of an enthusiast following for that exact same reason, as these cars weren't properly marketed as performance cars and really were more sold as comfy 2 door cruisers to people who wanted "Personal Luxury" like cars the Tbird/Cougars were in the 70s, rather than as large GTs the MN12 was in reality developed to be. Had the SC and sport models been marketed after the first year, and sports been marketed period they would have possibly gained more than just the cult enthusiast base they currently have with us. The Irony is the current crop of ponycars, the Challenger in particular, really is similar to the MN12 in terms of size handling and power vis a vis it's contemporaries, but Dodge heavily pushes the performance image those cars have, and definitely has a more enthusiastic owner base.

As for the value, the big can of worms topic, I think SCs and Supercharged XR7s will climb little by little, the rest will remain static, that's the most optimistic I'd be. Most who will disagree with my assessment will cite the value climb of classic Muscle cars, but A. These aren't Muscle cars(see above), B. Non muscle 60s cars(and even a slew of lesser known obscure muscle cars themselves) have NOT substantially climbed in value - Not every car from 1970 is a Hemi Cuda Convertible, some are just 318 Satellites(go ahead and look up the value on one of them) - and C. Unlike Muscle Cars, the 80s-90s had more than 4 automakers to become enthusiastic about and collect cars from. There's tons upon tons of currently accessible European and Japanese cars that have already begun to climb in value, and that lies in the fact people who fondly look back on cars of that era skews foreign, the MN12 is mostly coveted by us, who lets face it many cases got into them simply because they were cheaper than a Mustang. I think they'll become a more enthusiast driven platform as time continues to march, but collectible? As in concourse style nit picking of assembly line markings, and fighting over the plastic failure prone intake manifolds because they're now rare and # matching? Not a snowballs chance in hell :tongue:
 

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Around where I live, you can find a low mileage clean tbird or cougar on craigslist for 1500 to 2000 dollars.
Usually, that price range will get you a 150-200k mile car (which is typical mileage of a car that age).

Post a link to these cars, someone may want one. For a true low mileage clean car, people tend to ask in the $4-5k range.

American cars don't hold their value like our Japanese counterparts. The MN12's are a niche car. You don't realize how nice of a cruiser they are unless you own one or ridden in one.

And I disagree on the gas mileage topic. Compared to a V8 car of today, the 19-20 city and 26-27 hwy mileage that these cars can get is not bad. And that's on 87 octane.

Al
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Usually, that price range will get you a 150-200k mile car (which is typical mileage of a car that age).

Post a link to these cars, someone may want one. For a true low mileage clean car, people tend to ask in the $4-5k range.
If you look on Seattle craigslist you will see MN12's all day with under or barely over 100k miles for 2 grand or under.

EDIT: and most of them dont rust because the roads arent salted here.
 

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I just looked at the T-Bird stock. First thing I noticed, there are an abundance of T-Birds in Seattle! Not typical to find that many in most locations.

I did see several approaching, or over 200k miles, one had 245k. But like you said, there were some seemingly nice examples priced reasonably. Those prices are not typical for a lot of parts of the country, a few of those 100k mile cars would be a good $500 or so higher elsewhere. May be supply and demand.

Al
 

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100k is a lot of miles. I usually get rid of cars before they hit that many. Thats usually the point when they start to require maintenance.

Value is only important if you are selling a car, and its only worth as much as somebody is willing to pay. Collecting cars is not a profitable investment.
 

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To put it into perspective most old desirable cars sell somewhere between $20k-$50k, so assuming you bought it new with inflation and fees (storage, maintenance, taxes...)--it is not a good return on the money. CD's may even be a better return in most cases.
 

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And I disagree on the gas mileage topic. Compared to a V8 car of today, the 19-20 city and 26-27 hwy mileage that these cars can get is not bad. And that's on 87 octane.

Al
But there's no V8 car today that makes only 205 horsepower, and the non V8s that do make ~200 horsepower can average 30mpg or better. Coyote's get pretty much the same city/hwy mileage 2Vs do but they have double the power on tap.
 

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non V8s that do make ~200 horsepower can average 30mpg or better.
True story. My wife drives a '12 Hyundai Genesis 3.8L V6 rated at 333hp (also 3,800 lbs). She get's a consistent 26mpg in mostly city/traffic driving. We took a road trip over the summer and we saw 34-35mpg on the way there and 33mpg on the way back with an average speed of 75-80 mph.

Quick car too...about as fast as my AED supercharged bird and way faster than a stock 4.6L. At first it angered me with how fast it is, considering how much work, time and effort it's taken me to get a stock T-Bird to feel that fast. Supercharger, gears, TC, a bunch of bolt-ons etc...and I'm luck to get 15-17 mpg while being just barely faster.
 

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Well, if it makes you feel any better, that 333 HP rating is a factory number which is measured at the crank. RWHP will be a bit less.

I'm with Matt. These rental V6 Mustangs @ 300 HP are a hoot to drive and at 30 MPG I'm just amazed at how far a tank of gas will take me.
 

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Expand your CL search beyond just tbirds and I'm willing to bet that you will find a majority of the (mostly) working cars (i.e.: not a project car) in your area will sell for that price range.
That's the bottom of the depreciation curve -- until something major starts to break (turbos going out, transmission starts slipping, smog related issues, etc).

Other regions probably have different pricing at the bottom (in CA, a car that fails smog used to be eligible for a $1K buyback program which for the most part -- unless you had a friend or found someone who wasn't aware of it -- kept the price of a working car higher than this floor price - California Vehicle Retirement Program.)

From my experience, work-type trucks and 4WD/AWD vehicles hit the floor for a little more money ($3-4K) but it also depends on your locale.

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Bottom Line: the price of cars flattening out until something bad happens at $1.5-2K is not unique to the MN12. A more interesting question you could have asked yourself would be "what interesting car will hit this price soon that I might actually want to buy". The march of technology can make a 10yr newer car offer you better HP/performance, fuel economy, and luxury for similar (or just a little more money). A few grand more can get you an early Infiniti G35 now (not the nicest interior but certainly fancier than a tbird, 270HP, RWD, manual -- too bad the fuel economy isn't that good ~20mpg).

Of course, the most interesting cars (say the fancy german cars) that have just recently hit the bottom of their depreciation curves may also come with the repair bills that completely make them not worth it.
 

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But there's no V8 car today that makes only 205 horsepower, and the non V8s that do make ~200 horsepower can average 30mpg or better. Coyote's get pretty much the same city/hwy mileage 2Vs do but they have double the power on tap.
Not quite 205HP, but you can find V8 diesels sold new (outside the US of course) that make less than 275 HP :)

LandCruiser 200 GXL Turbo Diesel Auto Specifications
 

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The fact that a 4.6 MN12 isn't as powerful as a lot of modern cars isn't everything. My previous daily driver was a much newer than 1996, 4cyl 5 speed import. It was just as fast as my current driver in a drag race, and honestly on a track as well. But having a V8 with a good amount of torque at any time makes it a more enjoyable drive even if it's not the fastest car on the road. I can get on it at any speed and my V8 gets up and moves better than any other of the other cars I've owned.

I could have bought a much newer and/or faster car if I wanted.... but something about this platform attracts me. One reason is how unique and uncommon they are now. The other is how they feel to drive. It's an inexpensive classic already at this point IMO; plus they have the benefit of being incredibly reliable to daily drive because of the solid power-train.
 

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I agree, nothing matches that seamless V8 punch, or for that matter the excellent noises it produces, I find smog choked 70s barges with 150 horsepower bigblocks more enjoyable to drive than VTech Civics. But I'm not like everyone, a lot of people care strictly about the numbers on paper and would instantly write off one of these cars for that very reason alone.

The latter comment is probably the best hope these cars have, they do stand out from the current crop of cars well, and I believe the universal aesthetic of 4 doors, tall trunks and tiny windows will lead to a backlash at some point. Back in the 90s these were fairly anonymous looking, better than their contemporaries(monte carlos, ect) but definitely in the same design paradigm. Today you can really notice the purity of the design, and I get a lot more compliments now than I did ten years ago or even 5.
 

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When talking about a $1000 used car that's still in decent shape, if it has good tires on it, they can be worth $600 alone. It's a drag to put thousands into a car over the years only to have it worth a little more than a set of tires.

Having said that, I would take a nice condition T-Bird over almost any car that's 10 years newer. They all look the same!

Al
 

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My wife drives a new escape with the 1.6 turbo and I drove around the 2.0 for while. They are definitely peppy little motors but I'm not ready to give up my v8. Even at 240 hp they don't have anywhere near the same feel as the 4.6. I really like the escape but I'm still more comfortable in my bird especially on long trips. As far as purchase price I paid $500 for my 94. It certainly wasn't perfect but a decent starting point for a car that I wanted to work on. Even at 20 years old my car still has a nicer interior feel than many new cars. I know I will never get the money back that I have put into it but that's not really the point for most of us on here is it?
 

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KULLER94 said:
With these cars being crushed and recycled more and more every day, do you think the value will raise again and perhaps become somewhat of a collectible platform?
Just mod the car the way you like, and enjoy it for the pleasure it gives you..Not as an investment..

They made too many of these cars for them to ever fetch big money in your lifetime..

The only people that are willing to even pay more than book value are MN12 enthusiasts..
Who know that it's getting harder to find one of these that hasn't been used as a beater for the latter part of its life..

These cars are already "collectible"...Valuable, not really.. :rolleyes:





Rayo..
 

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While new to the MN12, I'm definitely not new to cars in general. Been involved in them all my life in some shape or form. Always been a GM and Euro (old MBs/BMWs, that is) guy, but there's always been a soft spot in my heart for MN12s and I have always kept an eye out for them on CL etc. And when the opportunity came to buy one a couple of months ago, I jumped on it.

Not because of thinking about whether it will be collectible in the future, but more because the price was right for what it is: 350 bucks. Not bad for a good running/driving, but not cosmetically perfect (good paint, but needs bumper cover and one dent pulled out) 97 MN12 w/120K miles.

Around here the prices do range anywhere from 500 to even 3000+, but the bulk seems to be in the 1000-2000 range and have been there for quite some time. It also seems that they aren't really selling like hotcakes, either. They tend to stay posted for quite some time before they disappear. Whether sold, or not sold.

But yeah, these are never going to be worth big bucks, which I think is a good thing. The bottom has pobably been reached. Leaves more for people who understand them and appreciate them for what they are: failry simple and reliable sleek cruiser with enough torque to keep up with traffic. That's at least what I like about them. If I had to choose between a 97 MN12 and a 97 (or even newer) Asian econobox in the 1000-2000 range, I'd take the MN12 in a heartbeat. And I'm not just saying it because I have one and I'm posting on MN12 board, either. While I do enjoy a lot driving the MN12, I still prefer my 89 MB 560SEL over it. Lol...
 

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I agree

These will never be collector cars until they are possibly 50 years old. (If then). And then only Really clean examples I suppose. (The Mercury's-who knows)

The Supercoupe cars may well be at some point.

You can readily buy these used at auctions for anywhere from $600 and up to whatever someone wants to pay and condition.

I purchased a 1995 Cougar in April-May of this year for $800.00. It has a couple cosmetic defects but only had 82K original miles on the car. It runs well and was in decent condition. It currently has 92K on it so I've put 10K on it so far. Only thing I've done is Oil changes, Spark Plugs, wires, tires and brakes (Normal maintenance things). If it runs another 5 years I'd say its money well spent-But it should last quite a while. Its nice having it and driving it around while I'm getting the 1MTNCAT put back together.

A lot of them out there are "rebuild projects" for the most part these days although you do run across some nice ones. I fear the "Cash for Clunkers" event from a few years back probably wiped out a good majority of them.
Time will tell I suppose.
 

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I fear the "Cash for Clunkers" event from a few years back probably wiped out a good majority of them.
2890 MN12 Thunderbirds, 1313 MN12 Cougars, and 613 Mark VIIIs. :frown2:

Those numbers are cars submitted for the program, "not necessarily reviewed or approved".
 
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