I’ve recently been asked about the sale of a 500-mile 1987 Buick GNX on Bring A Trailer for $130,000 on March 25 of this year. On March 18, a 1986 Grand National (a very different car, I was reminded by Colin Comer) with 5,700 miles bid to $38,750 and did not meet reserve.
The buyer of the 500-mile car paid nearly a $100,000 premium to get 5,200 fewer miles.
There are a couple of reasons why this makes no sense to me.
First, you’ll find that most of us at SCM have little interest in paying a huge premium for a low-mileage car. By doing so, you guarantee you will be afraid to drive the car. If you put 3,000 miles on your $130,000 GNX, you will have suddenly turned it into a $50,000 car.
You will have just paid $27 per mile to enjoy your GNX.
That’s a very high price to pay to drive a car that really offers no driving pleasure — at least in terms of what I look for when I buy a car.
I have a hard time figuring out how the Value in Use equation plays out with a GNX.
Has anyone ever said, “I love driving my GNX on a curvy road?” “Or, just look at how beautiful the lines are on my GNX?”
Where does the GNX club have its rallies and tours?
Would you take it to the dragstrip and really hammer the car, smoking the rear tires? After all, this is one thing it can really do.
When you get together with fellow GNX owners do you walk around and compare odometers? The guy or gal who has used their car the least gets the prize?
Now, it’s no secret that I’m a sports car guy.
On a tour a couple of years ago, I watched the odometer in my 1967 Duetto go from 99,999 to 00,000. Those are original miles, and I’m pleased I saw the car get to 100k. I’m not about to park the car to keep the mileage down.
The 1975 Ferrari 308 GT4 we recently purchased from Fantasy Junction has covered over 225,000 miles — all of them documented. It may be the highest mileage Ferrari in the world. It drives like a 30,000-mile car (clearly its always been properly maintained) and I love the fact that I could drive it to the moon and back and not affect its value.
I have owned muscle cars. There was a 1969 383-ci 4-speed Road Runner and a 1970 440-ci, 4-bbl, 4-speed Superbird.
I enjoyed the adrenaline rush when you floor them. But after those five or six seconds are up, you’re done.
These are not cars that handle or stop, and they were never meant to be. They aren’t cars for touring.
So I have a couple of fundamental problems with a 500-mile GNX. First, when you pay a premium for a low-mileage car you are essentially guaranteeing you will never drive it.
Second, when you buy an older muscle car, the ways that you can use the car (which means putting miles on it) are extremely limited.
I’d like to hear from GNX aficionados, and have you explain to me your attraction to this car. I’m willing to listen and learn.