Is a Moog test car worth buying as a used car?

Car in question 1991 Olds Cutlass Ciera 6 cyl, automatic, 95k miles

Used as a Moog test vehicle testing the new (now standard) A/C coolant and its associated parts that replaced freon.

Car supposedly has sat garaged in a warehouse the past 7 years and been occasionally started and run a little to keep it in running condition.

The owner is an agent who buys cars at auction and resells them. He has installed a new fuel pump “because the ones that old on Oldsmobiles tend to have problems.” Other than that, claims he only had to clean up accumlated dust inside and out.

A friend in desparate need of a reliable used car to replace her worn out beater has looked at and test driven this Moog test car. Said everything about its appearance is practically mint condition and that it ran, handled, steered, braked, etc. excellently. (I’ve only heard about the car; haven’t actually seen or test driven it myself.)

The asking price is $2,000. She is thinking of taking it provided that a)it passes safety and emissions inspections and b)it passes muster from her mechanic looking it over.

Anything she needs to be on the lookout for? She plans to immediately have the transmission serviced as a precaution.

Any suggestions I can pass along to her are appreciated. Thanks.


Cars that have been sitting for a long time usually require lots of work shortly after you start driving them. The gaskets and seals will be dry and start leaking. Brakes can be a major problem. Belts and tires are also dry and subject to failure. The car may LOOK fine, but after sitting unused for such a long time it could be lots of trouble.

This may not be a good vehicle for someone who needs reliable transportation. This is a car for a person who doesn’t mind tinkering with things. It’s also pretty old. I think the asking price is high, regardless of the mileage.

By the way, starting and running the vehicle’s engine is NOT the best way to keep a car in good condition. Cars need to be DRIVEN for at least 20-30 minutes every few weeks to keep them in shape. The engine and drive train should be allowed to fully warm up. Starting the engine for a minute or two every so often does not really help that much, and can actually be harmful.

The one antsy part about this is that 7 years of sitting can create some problems.
Brake rubber parts, various seals, etc., including the A/C system seals, can dry out.
Once the car is back in use some systems may start leaking and failing, if they have not already.

For the right price maybe; but I would be a bit leery about giving 2 grand for it.
A thousand; MAYBE 1300 or so if, and only if, the car is clean and completes a good thorough test drive.
A test drive to me is not defined as 2 miles; more like 40-50.

Thanks guys. This was sort of what I figured.

Unfortunately, she fell in love with the car, was desperate to get a replacement for her even older and definitely on its last legs car she couldn’t afford to do all the repairs on and went ahead and bought it in a hurry yesterday. sigh

Now I’ll just have to hope for her sake that things don’t start going wrong with this one.


if you do go ahead with this deal, check the title for anything unusual

Thank you. I’ll pass that bit of advice along to her! She already bought the car but since she got it from a used dealer of sorts, she should have recourse if it doesn’t all properly check out.


Did she at least have her mechanic check it over first? I sure hope so.

Like others here have said, there are always lots of things to look out for in this kind of situation.

If the car was not MOVED during those seven years, it’s a good bet the tires have sidewall cracks in them. Not to mention flat spots.

As it was stored inside, that probably eliminates the need to replace wiring as the rodents haven’t had at it. (Or have they?)

If it is an Olds, I say no. No Olds cars bought at auction either. As always, have fun with the Car once it is bought. I know it is as good as sold.

Unfortunately no, she didn’t. It’s her neighbor across the street who works for a salvage place that buys cars at auction, “fixes them up” and resells them. He said he looked it over and all it needed was a fuel pump they put in prior to her purchase.

She’s had it one day and called this evening to say the alternator went out on it this evening. sigh

She is used to having to buy very old, very used cars due to her financial situation. She has ongoing astronomical medical bills that never leave her with more than 1k to 2k to spend on a car every three to five years and hope she doesn’t have to keep repairing too much along the way, but she always ends up needing to. If she could come up with more $$$$ up front to buy a newer used car in better shape, she’d actually save loot in the long run.

I’d GIVE her my old Olds but she doesn’t want it with its history of things wearing out and needing fixing in recent years.


Oh, forgot to add, it did stay stored inside a warehouse garage for the 7 yrs it was sitting. She says she found no rust anywhere and there is only one tiny ding on the front hood marring the exterior of the car and that the interior is in mint condition.

Think she bought the appearance and the fact she wanted another Olds Cutlass Ciera. (That part I can relate to! Grin) Maybe next time she’ll settle for a newer used Buick Century as a clone of the Ciera.


Pleasedodgevan, I’m curious, why not an Olds? I can understand being leery of anything bought at auction.

Is it because Olds has been discontinued and finding parts for the older ones is becoming difficult? (Another reason I bought a new car last November and retired the 1987 Olds Cutlass Ciera to back-up status.)


It’s all a matter of opinion.

Some like this and some like that. Story as old as the hills.

Personally, I’ve been a GM fan (oh yeah, they’ve been up and down) since 1955 when the first tri-five came out. (The '57 BelAir 2dr hrdtp is my fav)

Over the years I’ve had nine GMs, four were new and the rest used with low mileage.

I too had a Ciera ('85) until it wound up up-side-down in the bush.

Right now I have a 2000 Olds Silhouette (bought 7 years ago off lease) and a 2002 Chevy Tahoe (which pulls our travel trailer).

It’s strictly a matter of preference.

I’ve steered clear of foriegn vehicles. Even used they cost too much for what you get.

Over the years I’ve had few problems with my vehicles, and I guess that’s why I stay with them.