Pontiac Solstice Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A few questions:

How attentive are you about the condition (appearance) of your car on a 1-10 scale? How much time do you spend cleaning and shining your ride in an average month? In your own view are you defined by the exterior condition of your ride? Here is a tough one, but pretty telling. If you had to make a choice as to whether to drive your car dirty, or spend the day cleaning it, which would you do? This should be good! :cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
Interesting question. On my daily driver I have found that when the car is new, I tend to keep it clean and waxed frequently like a wash about once a week and wax about every two weeks, but as time goes by it starts slipping to about maybe a clean and wax every other month with hosing off inbetween.

On my weekend or show cars I have had, they don't see the light of day all that often, so they get cleaned up pretty much when ever they get too much in the way of waterspots, bugs or road grime. They get waxed when ever I can't feel the wax on them anymore. They usally get a quick wipe every time they go back under the cover and back in the garage.

Actually, I have had some work vehicles and beater cars in the past that didn't really have much in the way of paint jobs, and I found them to kind of liberating. If the paint is crap and the body is dented, there's not too many worries! In the case of my Solstice, I'm sure it will get the royalty treatment... for while, and then I'll get lazy. To answer the question " do I find myself defined by the exterior condition of my ride?", I'd have to say hell no! I clean my cars because I like the way it looks and to preserve the paint. If I feel lazy, and my car is all grubby, oh well, I don't give a damb what people think about me. I'll wash it when I fell like it, not because I feel embarrased in a dirty car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
I want the car to look like a 9 out of 10, but I'd rather not spend large amounts of time keeping it that way. Since the car won't be a daily driver subjected to road salt, muddy slush, and the like, it shouldn't take much effort to keep it looking good.

I use a polymer sealant on the daily drivers in my household, and find that I can get 6 months of protection from 2 coats of it. Even they look pretty good without too much effort.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
You are right, the Solstice does look a lot like a 1951 Jaguar. Maybe the restyle will be more like an SS-100. That would solve the spare tire issue.
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
I generally insist on the car appearing clean, but that does not mean I spend a lot of time cleaning it. I will clean it after a rain where it picks up a lot of road grime, but I generally won’t wash it if it collects a little dust over the course of a few days. As long as it looks clean from 20 feet away, its ok with me.

I used to detail the interior of my cars all the time too, but I have gotten away from that. I think part of it has to do with the interiors of both my cars being light tan in color, so they really do not show light levels of dust/dirt. My previous daily driver had a back interior, and before that a dark blue and they showed everything.

I wax the Fiero about once a month to keep the red nice and shiney. Its 17 year old paint, and has seen a lot of sun over those 17 years. The car is no trailer queen! If I let it go more than a month it still will look clean and shiney, but the red loses its vibrance. My Jeep I only wax a couple times a year. Its new so the finish is in good shape, and its white so it doesn’t dull all that fast.

What I am anal about it scratched and dents. I cannot stand new scratches and dents, and go to great lengths to avoid them!
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
4,592 Posts
I drive a white, offroad capable, SUV (guess which kind), which I love dearly. As it is white, and off road regularly, washing it is not an issue unless it's to get the mass amounts of mudd off. I love white cars at they don't need regulr washing.

When I've owned the MGBs and Fiat Spyder, they were red and black, and I worked a 7 on a scale of 1-10 keeping them sharp, I mean that's the whole point of driving a cool roadster, it's eye candy!!!

A thought, there has been little discussion of washing maintence on this forum, I have become a fan of the Mr. Clean system, which works very well on white vehicles, and has some isues for black vehicles. I think I'll start a thread on that topic, be on the lookout! :seeya
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
Depends on which vehicle. I like all my cars to be clean, but only 'detail' the daily drivers once a month at best. On my pride and joy, which I only drive in fair weather I typically was and detail weekly. I've even washed it, let it sit in the garage for a week, then washed,waxed and detailed it before driving again. LOL

:rant

I have to admit a quirky pet peeve of mine. With the proliferation of disc brakes and alloy wheels over the last decade or so, I get very upset when driving and see the hundreds of nice and clean vehicles with such a terrible build up of brake dust on the wheels. .:think to myself:. "Gawd, aren't you embarrassed that your beautiful G35 coupe with fresh wax has orange front wheels?"
And why is it that Chrysler vehicles are the worst for this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
padgett said:
You are right, the Solstice does look a lot like a 1951 Jaguar....
padgett, is that comment in response to the C-type in my avatar? I see common styling elements in the two cars, and that's not a bad thing. When I get my hands on an actual Solstice, I'll replace the C-type avatar with a photo of my new acquisition.

PS: I don’t own a C-type (too rich for my blood), but I did pick up a used E-type in the 70’s for less than the price of a new VW bug at the time. Didn’t hang onto it though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Darkhamr said:
I have to admit a quirky pet peeve of mine. With the proliferation of disc brakes and alloy wheels over the last decade or so, I get very upset when driving and see the hundreds of nice and clean vehicles with such a terrible build up of brake dust on the wheels. .:think to myself:. "Gawd, aren't you embarrassed that your beautiful G35 coupe with fresh wax has orange front wheels?"
And why is it that Chrysler vehicles are the worst for this?
Yeah that is something I just shake my head at also.

The underlying reason I started this thread has to do with my work situation. We all have 4X4 trucks to use at work and we get into some nasty spots where the trucks get pretty dirty. I get a laugh when I see that the guys that take pride and care of their own personal vehicles also do the same with their work trucks. The others just let the rain do all the cleaning. In some cases some of the trucks are brand new. What a shame!

As for me I am pretty anal about the condition and appearance my VFR (sportbike), but will still keep my 10 year old S-10 Blazer clean as I can without spending a great deal of time to do so. I think I will enjoy rubbing on the new Solstice. :thumbs
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
Well,

I had originally ignored this thread for the most part, but I'll throw my $.02 in.

While I appreciate a gorgeously styled car, and I appreciate well-tuned and executed vehicle dynamics, I have to be honest.

My philosophy (this is NOT a commentary on YOUR views, nor is it a judgement on other's opinions. The following are the views and opinions of the author only...), or my basic assumptions, are approximately as follows:

1) Vehicles are tools. Their first and foremost purpose is for driving.
1a) Cars/Vehicles are also tools for recreation in the form of theraputic transportation (i.e. cruisin', off-roadin', etc.).
2) Dirt does not affect the performance of the engine, transmission, suspension, steering or brakes (Unless, of course, the intake is jammed, or you've got crap jammed in the wheels or radiator - i'm not talking about that type of dirt).
3) Cars are not investments. While there are a few investments that happen to take the form of a rare or valuable vehicle, these are so far and few inbetween so as to basically render them irrelevant. What this means is that you cannot make a living off of buying and selling collector cars (as many who are trying to sell the "rare" yellow '88 Fiero Formulas are finding out). 99.9% of all vehicles bought will deteriorate in value, regardless of whether they have accumulated miles or have been stored in a garage - and these majority will never exceed what one can make with other investments.
4) Cleaning vehicles wastes natural resources. Or you can look at it as they have an environmental and energy "cost".
5) When you are cleaning a vehicle, you are not DRIVING it.
6) Nowadays, vehicles (even here in MI, and yes, even steel-bodied vehicles) last in excess of 150,000 miles of hard mileage with minimal appearance impact. The days of "rusting out" are really a ways behind us.
7) All vehicles, when driven, get dirty. Generally, this level of dirt reaches equilibrium after 4 consecutive dry driving days. :jester
8) It's more important to own a great house and decent cars as opposed to a mortgage on a so-so house and a car loan on perfect-looking-but-expensive cars.


Bottom line: you can go ahead and clean your car daily, but I'll be doing what my car was built to do while you are waxing, rubbing and cleaning it.

Some cars are nice to look at, but if I wanted an art piece, I really do have the capability of making my own car models, even up to full scale. I know HOW to do it, but what good is a gorgeous car MODEL if you don't DRIVE it? Every nice concept car I see I ALWAYS say to myself, "I wonder how this would DRIVE...".

So, maybe this is sacriledge, but I take my cars through the car wash about once every 2 weeks. I live on a gravel road (there are quite a few around here in SE Michigan - belive me). I might clean the windshield if I get a chance while gassing up. I haven't waxed a car nor washed one in my driveway in over six years.

And I DRIVE them. Everywhere. Always thinking about whether I should change over to urethane bushings, or get that turbo retrofit kit, or what would be something to improve the brake fade, or what the next tire should be...

Most of my cars (I do have several) are over 100,000 miles, and look ok. In KBB terms, they would be called "good" condition.

I guess this is because I love to drive. And I hate to clean. And even though my Fiero many times has "proper road dirt" on it, I still get looks (positive ones), comments, and it's still fun to drive - and I haven't spent two hours of my time a week polishing it.

I'll likely do the same with my Solstice, maybe clean it a little more often for the first 20,000 miles. At the rate I drive, that will only be the first 2 1/2 months.

Peace. Out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
Solsticeman, you didn't mention the wheels. Do you at least clean the wheels?!?! :mad

I agree they are the worst "investment" that can be made and a dirty car does not affect it's driving. However, there is 168 hours in a week and washing my car takes about 45 mins, which I can spare. I typically use car washes on a weekly to bi-weekly basis, EXCEPT on a car to which, I have an emotional attachment. I also believe that while meeting someone getting in and out of their car is rare, that people form opinions based on your vehicles appearance. I consider a dirty car like not ironing your shirt to go to work. I also know that more than one mechanic has told me that they treat cars differently when they are working on them, based on appearance. If you can eat from the engine bay they take greater care working on them. One of the shuttle drivers at my dealer while dropping me off joked at how everyone knows my car and only one mechanic is ever assigned to do work on it.
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
Wow Solsticeman… tell us how you REALLY feel about washing cars! No, don’t hold back this time! :jester :lol

What you are saying makes tons of sense. Its all basically right. As for me, I wash the cars basically because I like looking at them when they are clean. Then I drive them and dirty them up again!! To each his own!

PS, my red Fiero Formula has always been for sale for $8000 firm. I figure I’ll never get that out of it, but if someone asks and thinks it’s a great bargain for a “collectable” car, heck, I’ll take it and go buy two new ones! :devil
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
FF88, maybe I should go pick up the two 88 formulas I've seen in the last three weeks (one for 2800, one for 3450) and sell them each for 7500 in your area :lol :jester

DH,

Sometimes, I clean the wheels, or after doing an autocross I'll make sure the car is reasonably clean (car wash). I even spot-remove bird crap!

But washing the instant it gets a little less than showroom appearance is simply not practical to me. I have too many hobbies...

I wasn't looking for vindication or anything, nor was I looking for anyone to say that I'm right or wrong. Just adding my viewpoint to the mix.

The point is: I can still be passionate about great cars (and what MAKES them great is one of the great mysteries in life), but not be one of those guys you see sneaking out the hose during a water shortage to keep his car clean... A clean car is important, but not THAT important.

As far as dealers working on my cars - just a few words to my local service manager for those few things I actually get a dealer to work on (If I'm short on time or don't have the inclination to acutally drop the fuel tank and change that sender unit myself) and they KNOW their work will be checked by an "Engineer". I've never had lax service, and my wheels are ALWAYS hand-torqued!!!

Heck, they even wash the car after servicing it :lol :thumbs
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
solsticeman said:
Heck, they even wash the car after servicing it :lol :thumbs
Now that is the way to go! Get someone else to do the washing! :thumbs

I wouldn't bring too many Fieros out here yet! Mine has been on the market for $8000 for 7+ years now, and no takers yet. Still, I think that collector is out there! :lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
solsticeman said:
...

3) Cars are not investments. While there are a few investments that happen to take the form of a rare or valuable vehicle, these are so far and few inbetween so as to basically render them irrelevant. What this means is that you cannot make a living off of buying and selling collector cars (as many who are trying to sell the "rare" yellow '88 Fiero Formulas are finding out). 99.9% of all vehicles bought will deteriorate in value, regardless of whether they have accumulated miles or have been stored in a garage - and these majority will never exceed what one can make with other investments....
All due respect to you BUT...on this point you don't know what your talking about. I mentioned this point to two friends that make a living doing just this and they replied in so many words, " don't tell him we are laughing all the way to the bank! It all about (like most other things) buy low and sell high. You can make a decent living on the trade of quality collectible automobiles. Period.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
I disagree, cars are terrible investments (at least long term ones), the people who make real money on them do not keep for very long. Cars are really like any other commodity: you have to know what to buy, when to buy, and when to sell.

Personally I cannot do this since it usually takes me 1-5 years just to get a car the way I like it and then I tend to keep them waay past the sell-by date.

Right now my wife and I have four cars and the average is 19 years. Last new car we bought was the Bonneville so maybe it is time for a Solstice.

That said, if you are going to buy a car for an investment, look for a top of the line, low production car with low miles that was very expensive new and can be purchased for not more than 20% of the original MSRP.

Consider my current toy a Buick Reatta. At $25k-$30k MSRP they say on lots and were given away to celebreties/golf pros. Today a very nice one with well under 100k miles is a $4000 car at best. (To me the first year, 1988, is the most desirable)

Why ? Well for not a lot more you can get the same thing in an Allante and thet is close to what a Corvette of the same vintage costs. This price compression has also pushed Fieros down to $3k-$4k for a very nice one. At these prices a long term investment/toy makes sense but not at MSRP.

If they really make 20,000 Solstices next year as 2006s, I suspect there will be some bargains sitting on the lots when the 2007s come out particularly if they have a much hotter engine. Now by this I mean $12k-$15k and in three years when the leases expire expect that to be $10k. By then that may be a deal.
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
I think we need to clarify what we really mean by investment and what we are buying.

A rare 60's muscle car that has some special performance option that only appeared on a few hundred cars and is highly desireable is a good investment. Its worth a lot of money, and will continue to be worth a lot of money. But those cars are also the exception to the rule.

Along the same token, and older car that is going for cheap money can also be a good "investment" in the sense that you will not take the depreciation hit on it that you would a more expensive, newer car that was in like condition. But thats not really an investment ias much as limiting your losses.

I believe what Solsticeman was getting at was buying a typical car as a daily driver, or even a weekend toy, and keeping it squeeky clean because it is an "investment" that will appreciate in value. An example would be buying a Solstice, impeccably maintaining it, taking it out only on sunny days, and driving it less than 100 miles a year to make sure its a low mileage cream puff in 20 years. Then expecting to get as much if not more money back from it than you paid.

In that sense, cars are horrible investments. Sure there are exceptions to the rule, but they are far and few between. With most cars coming equipped identically, or special editions being produced by the thousands with identical equipment, those ultra rare options and special editions don't even exist new (for the most part), much less have them become highly desirable years down the road making the car worth more money than they are now.

Could someone speculate on a used car and have it go up in value? Sure. GTO's went up once Pontiac came out with the new GTO simply because it drew attention to them. The same may happen for the old Chargers when Dodge's new rocketship sedan appears. So it may be a good time to speculate on a Charger. But I wouldn't buy any new car for sale today really believing I would somehow make money on it as an investment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
Way to handle a Solstice would be to buy one new, drive the **** out of it and really rack up the miles. Then in ten years when they have depreciated as far as possible, sell your ragged out one and buy a low miles creampuff. If they build 20,000 they will be out there.

I have had a number of cars with production on the close order of 100 and they were never hard to find. Right now Reattas with a total production of 20,000 in four years 1988-1991 (I follow them since have one) are at the tripping over every day stage and nice ones are selling for 15-20% of MSRP. Allantes are at 10%-15% of MSRP (1993 is a special case being the only Northstar powered one at around 20% but there are some real deals in 87-89s with both tops).

Fieros started out much lower priced so have held their value better but are still at about 50%. True, there are some very low production (less than 100) Corvettes - 67 L-88 (NOT the highest HP) and 69 ZL-1 come to mind - that bring astronomical prices but mostly are in the same class as a Harley: they bring a certain premium just for the name and image but take many years to reach MSRP, particularly if you adjust for inflation.

Of course part of the reason that the ZL-1 is so rare is that it was a $3000 (50% of the price of the car) option and came with essentially no warrenty. Hemis, RAIV, and SOHC 427s are in the same boat, cars that were never really sold to the general public and had some major disincentives at the time.

I always liked the comparison between a sixpack of Oly and a share in Enron. In the end you could drink the beer and the deposit on the bottles was worth more than the stock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
You can make money buying and selling cars, I did just that while going to college, but it's hard to make a great living at it. Overall Solsticeman is right, cars are a terrible investment for the future. I think when he said that he ment buying a new car was a bad investment, and this is correct. Even if you happen to buy a new car that will someday become a desirable classic, the amount of time it takes that to happen makes it a poor investment compared with other types of investment.

Buying old cars for investment purposes does make some sense because the orignal buyer took the burden of perseving it for the future not you, but the car market is very volitle. It is closely tied to the economy. In the 1990's when people had tons of money, baby boomers were paying outrageous amounts of money for muscle cars and hot rods, but when the bubble burst, those cars were the first things to go up for sale and prices plunged. So if you bought an all number matching original '67 GTO with a 400 and 4 speed in show car condition in 1999, and you go to sell it now, well you're probably going to loose a lot of money.

When I was buying and selling old cars, I used to always tell people, don't bother about an investment, just buy cars you like because you like them, and assume you are going to lose money. That way you will enjoy the car and ownership experience much better. Old cars are much better left as a hobby rather than a commodity, that's just MHO though. The Solstice will not be a good investment for at least 20 years, and that will depend on how well received it is, and good it turns out. If you buy a brand new Solstice, you're going to lose money. I can't wait to lose money! :cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
AeroDave said:
In the 1990's when people had tons of money, baby boomers were paying outrageous amounts of money for muscle cars and hot rods, but when the bubble burst, those cars were the first things to go up for sale and prices plunged.....
Prices seem to be on the upswing. Take a look at the results of any recent Barrett Jackson auction. Some American muscle cars are topping Ferrari prices. However, a lot of these cars have been recently restored and are rarely driven.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top