I'm a new member in the forum. For some time, I've been watching eBay, Autotrader, and in-state Craigslist (I'm in California) in hopes of understanding what is a fair price for a stock 1988 Fiero GT in good to excellent condition, with manual transmission, and ~100K miles or less.
I looked at a pricing guide by Paul Vargyas - my read of it was about $9K tops, but Hagerty suggests a range between $9K and $14K. I've seen a few listings, and know of at least two that were listed as $9.5K and sold close to $8.5K in the past year. One of them was repainted, the other had rebuilt powertrain - neither are a positive to me without credentials of who did the work. I also see certain vehicles that reappear, or are perpetually listed - substantially above $14K - I take that to mean there are few, if any buyers ascribing that much value.
I have no illusion of finding a bargain. Really what I'm after is help figuring out the threshold between a high price, and an irrational price, and hope to learn of specific data points from others who have completed a transaction. I can compare your thoughts against my budget - if I'll be scraping the bottom of the 1988 barrel, an informed decision would be to widen my search to other model years.
You should be able to find a good, solid 1988 Fiero for the prices listed in Paul's guide. That having been said, it's a price agreed upon between you and the seller. Start looking in the $4,000 - $5,000 price range. Some '88s will be worth more, some less.
There is a big difference between good and excellent condition. Id say looking at cars listed for 5k isn't off too far on the low end. As said prices vary and from what I have seen condition doesn't always follow the asking price. Each car will need to be driven and well inspected for condition to be what you want. What are you looking for, (under 100k is a big range).. or just good condition? Certain options? TTops? Certain colors? I don't know the Cali market well. I don't think you would be crazy to pay 10k if the car is what you want.
Welcome to the forum.
[This message has been edited by 2.5 (edited 08-30-2016).]
I bought my '88 GT 3 years ago for $2700. It had 95K miles and was equipped how I wanted it (plainroof, leather & 5-speed). It had a lot of deferred maintenance though and I immediately spent another $800 or so replacing worn out stuff. The paint was iffy too and the roof and decklid are now in rough shape, so my biggest advice if pick the Fiero with the nicest paint. Everything else is easy to fix, but a good paint job will set you back more than the car is worth.
In retrospect as much as I love my GT I should have waited for one with nicer paint.
Anyway, you can still find '88 GT's that haven't been wrecked or rusted away for less than $3000, but plan on fixing stuff and doing maintenance that hasn't been done in years. If you spend a little bit more (~$5000) you should be able to find a nice driver that was cared for and while not perfect, won't really need anything right away. If you spend a bit more than that (~$7500) you can get something with low miles, nice paint and virtually perfect. A VERY nice '88 GT can be had for less than $10K. To me a $10K '88 GT will have less than 25K miles, near perfect original paint and interior, leather seats and fully loaded.....maybe T-Tops, but not necessarily. Emphasis on original paint.....while many Fieros have wonderful repaints, most are awful. Personally, I value an imperfect original paint Fiero over a freshly repainted one because I know what I'm getting. YMMV though.
What you need to do is figure out how much you want to spend and then start looking for the nicest one in that price range.
I'd lfigure out what constituted the Fiero I wanted (no rust, color, tranny, style, year, paint condition, mileage, etc), then start looking for one in your price range. Just because you get one for $7K, $8K, $10K, etc, doesn't mean it's problem-free, or that maintenance has been done, or any other positive. Don't exclude a $3K Fiero based on asking price, but I'd look for condition first and foremost. You may have to wait for the one you want.
A big issue now is getting someone else's project. There are a lot of Fiero projects for sale.
Go back and re-read what mrfiero posted. His statements are dead on. My advice would be to get your finances in order and just wait for what you want and don't settle for less. There are a lot of low mileage well cared for fieros out there. I have bought and sold 6 low mileage fieros in the past 16 years.
Originally posted by RossT: I have bought and sold 6 low mileage fieros in the past 16 years.
I'm glad you still have my friend's old GT....out of all the Fieros of his we sold over the years you are the only one (to my knowledge) that still owns it. My GT is identical to yours (sans T-Tops)....bright red, gray leather with a 5-speed and gold wheels. That color combo has grown on me.
I now find myself with 3 Fieros, but I am seriously considering selling all 3 and buying another nice, super low mileage example.
Originally posted by tshark: Just because you get one for $7K, $8K, $10K, etc, doesn't mean it's problem-free, or that maintenance has been done, or any other positive. Don't exclude a $3K Fiero based on asking price, but I'd look for condition first and foremost. You may have to wait for the one you want.
This is great feedback - my key takeaway is that I should be patient. I'm not afraid to admit, my pursuit of this vehicle is not entirely rational. I know some say anything is worth what a buyer is wiling to pay, but I need to be respectful to maintain spousal approval - which means, whatever I end up buying - shouldn't look like I am nuts.
Currently, what I'm seeing are out-of-state vehicles in that $9K range (on eBay, and Autotrader, too...) but when you add shipping, inability to get out and see them in person, mild rust, and the wildcard of CA registration and emissions compliance - I think my real cost would start a the purchase price +$2K. So, maybe this is where the patience comes in, for what I'm seeking to appear in CA or NV.
Thanks, tshark and 2.5, for the welcome! Based on what you said, I feel more confident in using those pricing guides, and that should I find something in truly excellent condition, knowing $10K isn't in the crazy zone. I haven't been "approved" to spend that much but could "reapply".
My ideal purchase - 1988 GT w/manual, in bright red original paint with gray interior, as close to stock as possible, original wheels, no sunroof or t-tops, and no rust. Not looking for a project, but a turnkey mid-life crisis vehicle? When I say under 100K miles, I'm thinking light use like 50K to 75K...but I'd consider over 100K if it was well maintained. There is one pretty close to this on eBay right now, another two on Autotrader (neither of the two sellers on Autotrader have responded to my inquiries). I have inquired about all these, and one is really quite attractive, but when I figure in rust, the unknowns, and shipping, my case to "reapply" for increase in my budget is weak. By the way, there is a really attractive one, with t-tops, that just showed up on Autotrader but the ask is $17K. And then there's that long-running one at $22K on eBay, maybe you have seen it. With these asks, I'm kind of reluctant to engage because I can't pay anywhere near that and don't want to offend or waste seller's time with what they might feel is "lowball".
Mr. Fiero, thanks for your thought on original paint. I was kind of on the fence about repainted vehicles, and ruled out any where the black "belt" trim was painted in the new body color. I thought it looks weird but more importantly suggested someone wasn't interested in doing it right. I've added original paint to my list of must-have, and your experience is encouraging to me.