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Old 01-02-2018, 05:50 PM   #12
MobileSaturn is on a distinguished road
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 57

1999 SL
Default Re: Will saturns ever shoot up in value

I have a '99 SL 5spd with no options no power steering, no rear speakers, no tape deck, etc. that I regrettably have done some things to since getting it with 89k miles a few years back: added Homecoming white gauges, stickers to the rear windows, tint, amp kit for a sub (meaning a hole in the firewall), added OEM cruise control and had the computer flashed, things like that.

Honestly, if I could, I would take it all back *and likely still will to the best of my ability, as in the next six years, my car will be certified as classic where I live, and I believe by that point in most states.

At that point, I doubt the car will be worth much. These Saturns, among many other of its contemporaries (e.g. Honda Civic), last WAY longer than cars a few decades before used to in terms of general reliability, body /frame rust, and perceived "safety" (there's still a bunch of rednecks where I live who think dual airbags equals good safety). However, as Mr. Regular over on RegularCarReviews on YouTube pointed out in his stock Ford Falcon video, "Some classic cars are just regular cars." And I'll be damned if I let my Saturn continue as a daily once it hits classic status.

My Saturn in particular is odd. The previous owner was the original owner, kept it in a garage all its life and serviced it only at the local Saturn dealership until the company went under, after which he continued service at a Cadillac dealership. The car went several years without moving at all, but the owner was sensible enough to put in the right fluids when not running. When I got it, I was astonished not at how clean the outside was, but the fact that the interior had not one single scratch anywhere. Not on the door sill, not along the console, not on the steering wheel. No blemish anywhere, and the passenger airbag warning that was meant for the first owner to remove from the glove box still hung out, waiting to be tugged. Suffice it to say I didn't.

I dreaded dailying this thing when I got it a few years back, but I was in dire straits financially, and the guy sold it for a more than reasonable price. I've kept the car well conditioned since, but being a daily, I ended up modifying it nevertheless. Each part added made me cringe a little more, and it's made me realize that you just can't daily a car you want to preserve, when you have to make accommodations to fit your daily life.

I kept my original gauge cluster, radio, and paper cone speakers (which were still fine), so I can replace those at any time. The objective now is to find a new daily, which will be in the foreseeable future. Once I do that, I intend to keep the car, but only if I can garage it, as it's been left out in the elements without a garage or carport the entire time I've owned it. Paranoid as such, I've treated the window wipes and door seals once every few months, but I'll never be happy unless I can remove it from the weather and keep it dry when not being driven.

But why would anyone want to do that with a cheap Saturn? Especially one without any options? At least, that's what a lot of people where I live would ask.

You get all the big-name, highfalutin classics like Mustangs and Gran Nationals which have been well-preserved over the decades, modern classics like the Mazda RX-7 FD and Nissan S14 which have often been beat to hell by street racers (and thus need lots of restoration) all these cars garner a lot of attention and notoriety, thus they have a large community of impassioned folk (with money!) who will take care of these vehicles and their lineage. But economy cars? Just a few years ago, people would've laughed if you rode up to a car show in a mid-80s Chrysler K platform car, like a Plymouth Reliant. They certainly didn't have as big a following over the years as muscle cars, and thus were often neglected, junked, or drove into the ground. Now they're fairly rare, and gaining attention.

The same will likely be true of Saturns in about a decade or two, starting with the S-series. More have to kick the bucket though (which is difficult in and of itself ), and there has to be more interest in econo-classics. Interest is definitely developing though, both thanks to youngin's and their fascination with all things retro, plus the realization that modern cars built predominately with plastics are far more difficult to restore, and thus are better left being preserved. I think you'll see classics in the future from the 80s and 90s that are mostly preserved than restored, as once OEM parts run out and third-party manufacturers turn their attention elsewhere, we'll be left with 3D printing as the only solution for certain problems, especially with interior pieces.

I personally intend to rein in my SL back to stock once I get a new car. That will require another flash of the computer, plugging the hole in the firewall, finding a steering wheel frame that hasn't been hacked away at to add cruise control switches, etc. But I think it's worth it. The car may not be "valuable" in terms of resale value, either now or in any foreseeable future. But it's valuable to me, and as mentioned in a previous post, to certain individuals out there. Get the right person with the right memories, and any car, cheap or expensive, can be valuable.


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