Pinnacle Auto Appraisers' Blog

Keeping the auto appraising industry up to date with important auto industry and appraiser information.

10 Classic Muscle Cars That Will Bankrupt You With Maintenance Bills And Repairs - HotCars

And yet few gearheads will walk away from a muscle car. Even the bad ones are collectible. Sought-after emotion-tugging pieces of machinery that come accompanied by big bills. Where the muscle car originated is debatable. Some sources claim General Motors kicked off proceedings with their 1949 Oldsmobile 88. For other gearheads, the genre got serious with the Pontiac GTO. Either way muscle cars have been popular ever since.

Between greatness and failure is a slew of muscle car motoring mayhem that aren't sound used buys. Naturally, age plays a part in running costs. Parts are hard to find, as are the required skills to keep these motors on the road. The bad news is, no classic muscle car is perfect. Aside from picking the worst ones, raiding your savings will become unavoidable.

10/10 Jensen Interceptor III Convertible

Jensen Interceptor Convertible - FrontVia Mecum Auctions

Kicking off with an unlikely choice. The Jensen Interceptor despite its British origins is American muscle at its best. Underneath a Carrozzeria body lays the beating heart of a MOPAR-tuned V8 ranging from 5.9-7.2 liters. In six-pack form cranking out up to 390 ponies.

Jensen Interceptor Convertible - RearVia Mecum Auctions

For the most part, Interceptors wore a two-door coupe body, with In only built 267 convertibles. Taking into account rarity makes maintaining an Interceptor financially challenging. Add into the mix a rust-prone chassis made worse by chopping the roof off.

9/10 De Tomaso Longchamp

De Tomaso Longchamp - FrontVia Historics

Of a similar concept to the Interceptor, the Longchamp was another US V8-engined exotic. Designed by Tom Tjaarda of Ghia the Longchamp was a svelte two-door coupe with a big heart. Under the hood of this classic Italian, you'll find a 5.8-liter version of Ford's Cleveland V8 putting down 330 hp.

De Tomaso Longchamp - RearVia Historics

The problem with this one comes down to build quality. While Ford's V8 was dependable and would go on forever, the rest of the car just wouldn't. Fewer than 500 Longchamps found homes, making parts and repairs an expensive headache.

RELATED: Here's What Only True Gearheads About The De Tomaso Longchamp

8/10 Dodge Viper RT/10 Roadster

Dodge Viper - FrontVia Mecum Auctions

It doesn't seem all that long ago that we waved goodbye to the Viper when Chrysler pulled the plug in 2017. Yet, the original dates back to 1991 qualifying for classic car status. Unlike the majority of muscle cars powered by V8s, the Viper went a few cylinders further with an 8-liter V10.

Dodge Viper - RearVia Mecum Auctions

Without question, the V10 is near bombproof needing little more than plus and an oil change. Yet it's also the biggest cause of maintenance bills. Not through mechanical wear and tear, but from overzealous owners. Devoid of safety aids, mashing the throttle too hard is going to end in a crash. It's here that repairs get pricey, bodywork, even in fiberglass is scarily expensive.

7/10 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Camaro Z28 - FrontVia Mecum Auctions

Camaro's deserve a place among any gearheads wishlist of classic muscle cars. In second-generation spec, Chevy rolled out dozens of engines from sixes to eights. Sitting somewhere in the middle is the 5.7-liter engined Z28.

Camaro Z28 - RearVia Mecum Auctions

The perfect muscle car? Not quite. As desirable as the Z28 is, the bits you cannot always see are the most worrisome. Notoriously prone to rust, suspension and engine mounts are a weak area to take note of.

6/10 Ford Thunderbird

Ford Thunderbird - FrontVia Bring A Trailer

Ford's revamped Thunderbird arrived in 1989 to a mixed reception. While the smoother 2-door coupe was a matter of taste, under the hood all was not well. In the Thunderbird's long history, the tenth gen was the only one not to ship with V8. Despite the Super Coupes blown V6, Ford relented in 1990 offering a 4.9-liter V8.

Ford Thunderbird - RearVia Bring A Trailer

Whichever engine option you crave you're in for a list of reliability issues. Among these are, blown gaskets, coolant leaks, and wiring gremlins that blighted the Thunderbird.

RELATED: Here's What We Love About the 1989 Ford Thunderbird

5/10 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am

Pontiac Firebird - FrontVia Survivor Classic Cars

The Pontiac Firebird was a muscle car facing a two-fronted crisis in the late '70s in need of a fix. For 1982 that mean a new shared F-body design with a veiled emphasis on efficiency. While V8s remained a big plus point, cost and weight savings were abundant elsewhere.

Pontiac firebird - RearVia Survivor Classic Cars

Despite a great design, the Firebird's body hid a few nasty surprises. Thinner and cheaper bodywork was prone to denting and scratching. Worse still, the budget build continued through the Firebirds suspension and steering. It may be cheap to buy these days, but you'll invest more time and money later in repairs.

4/10 Dodge Aspen RT Super Coupe

Dodge Aspen RT - FrontVia Barn Finds

Sporting various carmakers' names. The Aspen RT Super Coupe is a little-known '70s muscle car. Filling a niche that was already filled by the Volare, the Aspen RT Super Coupe sold just over 500 cars. Depending on which state you lived in, Dodge offered two V8 engine options with up to 170 hp on tap.

Dodge Aspen RT - SideVia Bring A Trailer

Side-stepping the eras' performance woes, the Aspen's biggest problem was poor build quality. Given the low production numbers, you might think Dodge fine-tuned the assembly process. Wrong! Instead, production cars left the factory with no corrosion protection. The Super Coupe became a ticking time bomb of rust worries.

3/10 Ford Ranchero GT

Ford Ranchero GT - FrontVia Mecum Auctions

Muscle car manners in a pick-up truck, the Ranchero GT is one of those rare rides every gearhead should drive. Sadly for Ford, sales of its hottest model were never a huge success. Its rarity makes owning one a potential money pit should things go wrong.

Ford Ranchero GT - RearVia Mecum Auctions

While the 7.0-liter Cleveland V8 was dependable kicking out 375 hp, anything bolted to it was less so. Leaky hydraulics, defective air-con, and other less critical kit are common Ranchero issues. Fault fixing is more of a tiresome chore of tracking down spares and parts. Yet finding a mechanic with the know-how to put things right is even harder.

2/10 Dodge Charger RT

Dodge Charger RT - FrontVia Bring A Trailer

Enjoying a cult status thanks to big and small screen fame the Dodge Charger RT is highly sought after. Yet bargains are to be had at auction with prices dipping as low as $45,000. At these prices, it's a tempting proposition that few gearheads will be able to resist.

Dodge Charger RT - sideVia Bring A Trailer

Nowhere else does the saying cheap for a reason come into play. At the top end, mint examples fetch upwards of $150,000. This makes any bargain motor a worrisome temptation. Rust is an ever-present worry with badly corroded rear quarters, trunks, and roofs hard to replace.

1/10 Buick GNX

Buikc GNX - FrontVia FavCars

The Buick GNX is the only muscle car here not to use a V8 engine. Instead, Buick chose a 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 cranking out between 245-300 hp. While Buick claimed one figure, gearheads proved otherwise on a dyno rig.

Bucik GNX - SideVia FavCars

Whatever the real number the GNX is a proper muscle car. In a drag race on boost, junior supercar owners faced a shock as the GNX took off like a scalded cat. But, it falls a long way short of perfect. Mechanical faults include oil leaks, frail turbos, and gasket failure.

Sources: De Tomaso Automobili, Dodge RT Club, Hemmings, Bring A Trailer

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Wholesale Used Car Prices Are 15.6 Percent Lower Than They Were In January - Jalopnik

A used car lot

Photo: Newsday LLC / Contributor (Getty Images)

It sucks to be in the market for a car these days. High MSRPs and even higher dealer markups make a lot of new cars unreachable for a lot of buyers, which has increased demand for used cars. As a result, pre-owned prices have shot up as well. For the first time in a while, though, we have some good news about used car prices.

CNBC reports that last month marked six months in a row that wholesale used-vehicle prices fell. They’re now 15.6 percent lower than they were in January 2022, their lowest point since August 2021. That data comes from Cox Automotive’s Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, which tracks wholesale auction prices.

One reason for the steady drop in prices is the increased availability of new cars. You can also credit higher interest rates for reducing demand for cars across the board, not to mention continued fears over the potential of an imminent recession. But while dealers may be paying less for used cars, that doesn’t necessarily mean customers will immediately see those savings in the prices they pay.

Cox reports the average list price of a used car was $27,564 in October, which is less than half a percentage point lower than it was back in January. Between October and November, Cox says retail pricing dropped another one percent. That’s better than prices continuing to go up, but it’s still not great news unless you’re a used car dealer.

Presumably, retail pricing will eventually fall enough to get more in line with wholesale pricing, but how long that will take is still up in the air. If consumers continue to be willing to pay what dealers are charging, it may take a while.

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State charges 30 people, 21 businesses in automotive 'title washing' ring - WPMT FOX 43

The suspects allegedly purchased totaled vehicles that they then falsified inspection information for and submitted fraudulent title applications to PennDOT.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Attorney General and governor-elect Josh Shapiro on Friday announced his office has charged 30 people and 21 businesses for "title-washing" and re-titling stolen vehicles.

The alleged offenses occurred at businesses in Lebanon, Lehigh, and Philadelphia counties, Shapiro said in a press release.

"The title washing fraud was designed to bypass rigid requirements for reconstructed titles in states such as New Jersey and New York," Shapiro said. "The re-titling of these stolen vehicles was intended to make those vehicles look legitimate for resale or export."

The suspects are alleged to have purchased totaled vehicles that they then falsified inspection information for and submitted fraudulent title applications to PennDOT as well as removing and changing the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) attached to each vehicle to bypass police detection of stolen vehicles, Shapiro said.

These arrests are following sweeping arrests earlier this year as tied to related criminal rings in northeastern Pennsylvania.

“The defendants used their positions and knowledge of PennDOT requirements to defraud state and federal authorities and put unsuspecting drivers at risk,” said Shapiro. “Vehicles that have been totaled must not only be repaired but also undergo an enhanced safety inspection to ensure they are safe. 

"The defendants instead allowed hundreds of heavily-damaged vehicles onto the roadways in Pennsylvania, and around the country without even looking at them. They gamed the system and put consumers at risk to rack up millions of dollars in illegal profits. This was widespread criminal conduct and today we brought a halt to it.”

As part of this alleged scheme, the enhanced vehicle safety inspectors listed did not complete the necessary inspections that were required in order to make a totaled vehicle road worthy again and instead only completed the paperwork required, according to Shapiro.

Many vehicles that they claimed to have been inspected at their shops never actually entered Pennsylvania, Shapiro said. Under further investigation, it was found that several of the vehicles had been stolen from other states.

“I congratulate Attorney General Shapiro and his staff on this investigation and the resulting arrests,” said Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin. “I commend and thank Chief Deputy District Attorney David Mussel, and all of the Lehigh County Auto Theft Task Force, for the roles that they played in this successful investigation in Lehigh County.”

The 30 individual defendants were charged, in varying degrees, with: Corrupt Organizations, Forgery, Washing Vehicle Titles, Deceptive Business Practices, Tampering with Public Records, False Application for Certificate of Title, Altered, Forged, or Counterfeit Documents, and Insurance Fraud, among other charges. Charges against the 21 businesses include, in varying degrees, Washing Vehicle Titles, Deceptive Business Practices, Tampering with Public Records, Altered, Forged, or Counterfeit Documents, and False Application for Certificate of Title.

The defendants are as follows:

Roberto Gomez-Gomez Nora D. Rodriguez Jimmy Rodriguez-Cosme Jessica L. Engelke Ahmed Lopez-Roman Aristeds Aquino Jean C. Aquino-Belen Rafael Santiago-Pacheco Juana Belen-Valdez Juana Belen-De Evangelista Osiris M. Fernandez-Gonzalez Edgar Collado Mohammad Alkurdi Mohamed Kerdi Albert Luciano-Rodriguez Edward Saldivar Adelaida Mirelis Mendoza Eulid Urena-Recio Linda M. Sandoval Martinez-Herrera Margarete Rose Almashaqbeh Charlie Jiminan Beaki Antonia Perez Somary Ibeth Otanez-DeLoor Indalecia Vazquez Maria Pineda Jefferson Loor-Valet Angel Mendez David Morrison Oleg Zelenko Igor A. Dratch

The 21 businesses charged are as follows:

Mendoza Auto Sale, Inc. G & G Auto Body and Auto Salvage Carla Matia, LLC Abby Auto Saldivar Group, Inc. JM Auto Sales, Inc. Jessica Auto and Multiservices Wilfredo Auto Repair Emma Auto Tags and Multiservices, Inc. Docuservices A2Z Auto Sales Charo Auto Sales AMCO Motor Sales MP Notary and Tags, Inc. J & J Car and Truck Sales, LLC PA Tag and Title Perfect Touch Auto Repair & Sales Santos Auto Gallery Grig LLC Newroad Motors LLC Amatti Auto Sales LLC

“The arrests effectuated today emphasize our commitment to investigate any type of fraud associated with motor vehicles, titling, and affiliated records,” said Pennsylvania State Police Captain James Cuttitta, Special Investigations Division, Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “These crimes victimize unsuspecting, law-abiding citizens of Pennsylvania and beyond when they purchase these vehicles, only to learn later the vehicles have significant defects. 

"The Pennsylvania State Police will continue to work with all District Attorney’s Offices, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and other partners to conduct additional investigations and hold those responsible accountable.”

This case is being prosecuted by Chief Deputy Attorney General Robert LaBar, Deputy Attorney General Richard Bradbury, and Lehigh County’s Chief Deputy District Attorney David Mussel. All charges discussed are accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Consumers who believe that they may have been a victim of the practices of any of the above dealerships, vehicle inspectors, or tag agents, or have information about this or other forms of vehicle or title fraud should reach out to the Office of Attorney General by emailing the Insurance Fraud Section at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Poor-credit consumers are constrained the most by the current auto market - WUSF Public Media

As supply chain disruptions stall the production of new cars globally, used-car inventory is getting more expensive.

In Florida, borrowers are financing an average of $37,778 for a new vehicle and $28,329 for a used vehicle in Q3 2022, according to data requested from TransUnion. 

Melinda Zabritski, the senior director of automotive financial solutions at Experian, said the upward pressure on used-car costs is caused, in part, by an overflow of demand from the new-car market. In 2022, Auto Forecast Solutions estimates that supply chain issues accounted for around 1 million fewer vehicles produced in North America.

Zabritski said shrinking new-car inventory has forced more drivers into the used-car market, heightening demand and ballooning prices.

“If you are a consumer who has not bought a new or a used car in the last several years, it could be a bit of a sticker shock,” Zabritski said.

In Florida, auto loan borrowers assumed longer-term loans, higher interest rates and larger monthly car payments to finance used cars in Q3 2022, according to year-over-year data requested from Experian.

Zabritski said auto loan borrowers with credit scores between 501 and 600, known as “subprime” consumers by auto-finance insights companies, are being squeezed the most by current market factors. Oftentimes, poor-credit consumers have fewer financing options and are more vulnerable to defaulting on auto loans.

She added that the heightened demand in the used-car market may price out lower-income consumers or drive them to purchase much older vehicles. As reported by NPR, car maintenance and repairs are also getting less affordable due to supply chain disruptions and rising labor costs.

Used-car salesman A.J. Stathas has watched these national auto-market trends trickle down into his family’s dealership on Fletcher Avenue.

A man stands in the foreground in a gray polo shirt in front of a car dealership parking lot and a sign that reads

Gabriella Paul

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WUSF Public Media

A.J. Stathas stands outside in the lot of his family's used-car dealership on Fletcher Avenue in Tampa, Florida. He said backlogs in new-car inventory has spurred extra business for used cars.

With a shortage of new cars in the market due to continued supply chain disruptions, Stathas said his family’s dealership has experienced a spike in business for used cars. Typically, the lot has around 100 cars. But in recent months, there’s been closer to around 45 vehicles.

In particular, inventory has been dominated by SUVs and trucks on the lot. A few years ago, small economy cars were more prevalent.

In recent years, 60% of new-car shoppers purchased SUVs — a pricier vehicle option — over sedans, contributing to an overall costlier used-car market, according to Zabritski.

“Now, the flip-side to that is … if you happen to have a used car that you’ve had for several years, and you’ve been paying it down, chances are you’ve got considerable equity in that vehicle,” Zabritskisaid.

In the last six months, Stathas said the used-car market is so strong that some drivers have successfully sold their vehicles and walked away with a profit. For example, Stathas said in a recent sale sold his F250 with around 60,000 miles to the dealership and walked away with more than he originally paid.

As inflation drives up the cost of everyday goods, Stathas said he’s also noticed a growing debt-to-income ratio among customers in the community.

In Florida, the 60-day delinquency rate for auto loan borrowers jumped to 1.35% in the third quarter, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. It also surpassed the national delinquency rate of .81%, according to data from TransUnion.

Zabritski forecasts this rate is likely to keep climbing amid growing economic pressures at the household level. She said borrowers who stay upside-down on their auto loans will eventually have to surrender their vehicles or face repossession.

Gabriella Paul covers the stories of people living paycheck to paycheck in the greater Tampa Bay region for WUSF. She's also a Report for America corps member. Here’s how you can share your story with her.

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O'Reilly Automotive Inc. stock falls Friday, underperforms market - MarketWatch

Shares of O'Reilly Automotive Inc. ORLY, -1.02% shed 1.02% to $827.80 Friday, on what proved to be an all-around rough trading session for the stock market, with the S&P 500 Index SPX, -0.73% falling 0.73% to 3,934.38 and Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.90% falling 0.90% to 33,476.46. O'Reilly Automotive Inc. closed $43.12 below its 52-week high ($870.92), which the company achieved on November 30th.

The stock demonstrated a mixed performance when compared to some of its competitors Friday, as AutoZone Inc. AZO, -1.36% fell 1.36% to $2,454.99 and Advance Auto Parts Inc. AAP, -0.47% fell 0.47% to $145.90. Trading volume (327,184) remained 149,983 below its 50-day average volume of 477,167.

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