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Value of an older car in great condition

We are assisting an elderly person to sell a 1988 Ford Tempo (2-door)that has just under 15,000 miles on it. we’re trying to determine what - if any - market there is for such a vehicle. The car is located in Minnesota, but hasn’t been driven during the winter months, so the body is in excellent condition. We haven’t had a mechanic assess its condition, but assume that it is very good to excellent. We’ve struck out going on line to get an idea of value because nobody lists such a vehicle with such low mileage. Any thoughts on how we might obtain an opinion on value? Any interest in purchasing the vehicle?

If I were looking for a winter beater I might give you a grand or so for it. Such low miles on a 23 year old car tells me I’ll have a lot of work to do on it to bring it up to snuff. Cars that are very rarely driven tend to have issues. That plus the fact that a Tempo isn’t exactly a dream car means that even though it’s in great shape, it’s not all that desirable.

Now, if you were selling an 88 CRX with a perfect body, I’d already be at your door with a checkbook :wink:

The Tempo is NOT a classic car. It’s over 20 years so…and even new wasn’t considered very reliable. Yes it has very low mileage, but that’s only part of the story. At best it MIGHT be worth $1000. And you’d have to find the right buyer.

Sorry, I have to agree with the others. None for sale on Ebay, any year, any miles. One completed listing for a newer one, reached $660.

Low miles is not a plus here. What might help is if you can show all the maintenance has been done (every time period, not just by the miles driven). Also does it have relatively new tires? It could have the originals, which would be dangerous to use.

While you could use Craigslist, you get all kinds of kooks that way. You might try friends/family/acquaintences, see if somebody’s looking for a cheap used car.

check out You will find an older car section that may be of some help. Since the tempo will never be any kind of collector’s car, its value will be fairly minimal.

Edmunds says it’s worth about $600. The mileage adjustment is +$256 for such low mileage. It was not a popular car when it was first sold, and nothing has changed. And no, I’m not interested in any Ford Tempo.

The car is 23 to 24 years old as 2012 cars will soon be on the market. The low miles and good body work don’t add much value to a Ford Tempo. If it was a collectible car, like a convertible the condition would make a difference.

Because it is in good shape it will sell. If it was in average shape for this age it would likely be on the way to the crusher soon. You are looking at a $500 car here.

I am interested, Been looking for a car when the critter comes back from college to work for the summer. Make me an offer I can’t refuse! Take it to carmax, see what they will give, I will beat it by $200.00

New, it sold for just about $6,500. They were not expensive. It’s worth about $2,000 now because it will start having problems before 50,000 miles. The transmission should go at 50,000 miles and can go sooner. The engine will never quit. The heater core and radiator should go a while with the heater core being first to leak. It has a lousy turning radius.

It is OK to drive because when the transmission gets to DRIVE it damn well stays there without constantly shifting. It is easy to work on and is probably a better car than I say it is. You can probably get $3,000 for it. Not being driven in the Winter is a big plus at this time of the car’s life. I actually would be offering a thousand for it if I needed a car.

If I accidently red flagged my own post, I didn’t mean to do it.

Thanks for your reply (and everyone else’s, if you all can read this reply). You’re not telling me anything I didn’t suspect, but just wanted to check. Wish it was a CRX.

I agree. The only advantage of a Tempo at that age is, like the Ranger, it’s made of off shelf parts as an inexpensive fleet car and could maybe be kept in service a while longer. Put it on a college bulletin board and donate it for needed student transportation.

I once bought an 11 year old car with only 20,000 miles on it, and paid about $300 over the normal book value for the low mileage. Agree with others, the Tempo was not one of Ford’s “Better Ideas”.

Allow $100 over the nominal value of about $600 for such a car. It will need a list of things as long as your arm to replace, and you hope the engine has been well looked after.

Now, if it were a Ford Tempo L with a diesel, it may be be a car ahead of it’s time. Check under the hood.

You can’t hardly buy a car that runs for less than $1000 anymore…Take a couple of nice pictures, list it on craigslist for $1500 (that’s less than half the price of repairing a Honda transmission) and you will sell it quickly…

"1988 Ford Tempo. 15,000 original miles, looks and drives like new because it IS like new! Garage kept rust-free car literally owned by Little Old Lady. First $1500 cash drives it away. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx

My grandma’s old car sounded like a good deal at the time too. ( purchased for my son )

By virtue of age alone,

  • it was a money pit. -

rarely driven turned out to mean rarely maintained.
old oil, engine and trans,
musty old interior,
burned out bulbs,
chassis lubrication never done,
age old plastic and rubber parts,
old tires,
alignment never done,
and the list goes on.

I guess when grandma lives alone and drives that nice looking old car, the less connected family assumes she’s having it maintained since it looks so good.
She never did a thing.

Back in the early 90’s I had to live with a Tempo for an extended period as a rental car. I found it perfectly serviceable and a good size with decent economy for it’s time. It wasn’t the best assembled car I’ve driven but it was inexpensive to buy (and rent). There was a reason it was a pretty big seller for it’s entire life. It just got a little long in the tooth compared to the competition when I had it but there is something to be said for not caring if a particular car got dinged in the parking lot. This was just such a car; functional.

I was interested in buying the car, sparsons has not responded, another toasted posted! No need for anyone to continue on, as assume he/she is gone.

You?ll probably get anywhere between 500-750 bucks for it at the most.

Sorry, Waterboy. I actually did reply, but must have screwed up submitting it. The car is 2 hours away from us, and we won’t be able to get to it until the week of April 4. Am definately keeping your offer in mind.