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Discussion Starter #1
So I found a 2000 Esprit with a Rebuilt title, carfax shows rear end damage in 2003 at like 6000 miles and now has 34000 miles if I recall correctly. Car is $34k, not sure about service history at this point.

Is it worth buying a tainted titled car? Car has been for sale for over 800 days, I am sure if you have looked you know which car I am talking about. From the photos the car doesn't look bad at all, but we all know how that goes.
 

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If you buy a car with accident history you must be sure the car has been properly repaired and that the purchase price reflects that it has damage history. Given 2 similar cars selling for the same price a buyer will always choose the one with no accident history. That means the one with accident history MUST sell for less and is worth less and will sell for less when you sell it. The damage won't be on the Title but it WILL be on services like Car Fax. If you have a car with a Salvage Title, that means the car was so badly damaged that the insurance company totaled it. While it may have been repaired, it is clear that the car was severly damaged like an accident, flood, etc. Not the same as accident history, much more severe. In many States you cannot register a car with a Salvage Title. At the very least the car is worth MUCH less than a car with accident history. It is basically a pile of parts that just happens to look like a car. Unless you can buy the car very cheaply and are ready to spend a LOT of money on it, you should move on to another car. There is a reason that States have created a category called Salvage. It is so a potential buyer will see very clearly and easily that the car was severely damaged and is not easily hidden.
David Teitelbaum
 

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I think that is priced appropriately based on market asking prices for the later V8s. If the repairs look decent and you go in eyes wide open I am a fan. Still a lot of $ for a salvage anything. Insurance can be sketchy I have heard too so might want to look at that. That is a chunk of change to have out there if you cant insure it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Erik, I agree if it can't be insured. I have my eye on a 2003 that I may make an offer on, but either way I still have to sell a couple cars so the cash is in hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
jtrealty the car was rear end damage per the carfax. and I agree two cars for even close to the same money I would pass on the rebuilt title.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Jcslocum I wasn't running toward it, just curious.

Funrudy agreed 800 days says a lot, or no one looked at it because of the rebuilt title.
 

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If you are serious then a PPI (Pre Purchase Inspection) would be a very good idea. You are fortunate in that the car is very close to R S Motorsports and Ralph is one of the very best Lotus technicians in the world. He can determine exactly what the condition of the car is and help you decide what it is worth. According to the listing it has a "clean" Title. Not sure what that means. It could be it had a Salvage Title and they cleaned it up or maybe the Title was always good, just accident history. A purist or serious collector would pass on anything with a bad history but someone who wants a cheap car to have fun with may not mind the history if they get a deal. It is never what the ad says, it is what it doesn't say. You would think they would have had more photos of the rear of the car and underneath but maybe they want to hide something.
David Teitelbaum
 

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So where is it Exactly at? Saddle Brook NJ or Bridgeton NJ?


Too many questions and resale value would be Null to a potential buyer down the road IMHO!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
funrudy, it appears to be at the dealership, I sent them a few questions about service and about the rebuilt title, but nothing back. Of course they could be closed due to our current situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Red_Lotus_Esprit, true on both counts. I personally would not get this car unless I offered a very low price and they accepted. Since I doubt any maintenance has been done in the last almost 3 years they have had it for sale. And the tainted title.
 

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It all depends on why you want the car. Do you want it as a collector piece? Don't buy it, Do you want it as an investment for resale? Don't buy it. Do you want a nice 'dream' type car that you can actually drive and not worry so much about losing value, or maybe modifying it? Then this is the car for you.
I bought a Salvage (repaired) Exige for those exact reasons. I modify everything I buy, but I didn't want to 'ruin' an extremely rare and valuable specimen. So, I found a salvage one that had been properly repaired from laughably small damage and now I can beat on it, modify it, and do whatever I want to it because my entry price was so small, and none of my mods could possibly reduce the value more.

When it comes to financing, all banks/Cu's have rules, some will only finance 50%, others 75%, some don't care, some wont at all. So, it does effect financing.

Most insurance companies don't care. They insure it for the value of the vehicle and if you were to get totaled (again) the previous salvage value is what they will consider.

Most states have a way to re-register/inspect etc Salvage/rebuilt titles. There is another branded title called 'Scrap' for cars that will never be allowed on the road again.

Many many cars are Salvaged for very minor things. If a car gets stolen, and driven a block down the road and abandoned, the owner has the right to not want the car back. This instantly salvages the vehicle. You will often see 'Theft recovery' in the description of the auction. Now forever the car will have a salvage title, no one in their right mind would think the car is unsafe or junk. Other times (as was probably the case of this Esprit) the parts are rare and VERY expensive, so even small damage makes the repair cost over the threshold for the ins company and it gets salvaged. That's why very minor damage on the Eliges send them to salvage so quickly, because the Clams are so expensive and require so much work to install/paint correctly.

In the end, understand what you are buying, and why you are buying it.

This car most likely had light rear end damage that required many very expensive visual components. It was salvaged, bought at auction, repaired, sold and then another 28K miles were put on it. Rear end damage, on a rear engine, RWD car......no way 28K miles were put on it with no issues if the repairs were major or done poorly.

Buy with confidence if it fits what you are looking for.
 

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I have heard many internet stories that after a salvage title car changes states and hands a few times the title will end up clean. Often this eliminates insurance issues because the insurance company just looks at the title.

I would be afraid they would find out after a claim however.

That car is freaking gorgeous, late model V8 with the AP brakes and the NOVA wheels! I usually see these cars advertised at over $50K

Maybe look into agreed value insurance - say $25K replacement value with the title issues up front. If they will agree to insure I would move forward.

If all is ok with insurance try to get a specific PPI just looking at known turbo V8 engine and transmission issues and looking around the back end repairs. Dont worry about the rest of the garbage the PPI looks at - who cares if the horn does not work or tires have left than 3/32 tread - all that can be fixed. This is a driver.

To me that is a very desirable car. Still a lot of change for salvage title but I think you can always sell that for $25K. I would not be afraid to pay 30 or 32.

I would rather have that car than a pristine 15k mile 2004 with a clean title, cost $60k and i was afraid to drive or wrench on.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have emailed them and still waiting. For the right price this could be a fun car to keep.
 

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I would buy it if I never plan on selling it


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