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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What\'s a car like this worth?

Hey guys,

So I have the 94 Red Viper with 1577 miles for sale. Out of curiousity, I called Roanoke (Viper and Prowler dealership) the guy said my car was worth $30K. Looking for HONEST opinions here, what do you guys think? I know a cars worth what someone is willing to pay for it, thought I had something that might be worth a little more due to the low miles, but so far Ebay has been a bust. Should I just store this thing in a bubble and try and sell it ten years from now? Will this car go up in value at some point due to the low miles and mint condition or do they continue to depreciate? Thanks in advance for everyone's opinions.

69 Posts
Re: What\'s a car like this worth?

Sounds like a sweet ride. I found this yesterday on depreciation it doesn't answer your questions but I found it interesting none the less.

Depreciation. Residual value. Same concept, different perspective. It's like considering whether the glass is half-full or half-empty.

But one thing's for sure: If you're considering buying a new car or leasing, it's critical that you get it.

Depreciation is the negative way of looking at it -- how much value is lost in a given period. Residual value is a more positive perspective -- how much value is retained.

We all know the value of a new car drops as soon as you drive it off the lot, but how much it drops and continues to fall as the miles and the years go by has been a guessing game for most consumers.

No longer. Various organizations have set up sophisticated tracking and database systems to gather and analyze data from sales, resales, trade-ins and leases to help you make comparisons between different leases easily and accurately.Car shopping?
Find the best loan
before you buy.

High-dollar machines stay that way
The car-shopping site says the cars that hold their value best are also among the most expensive -- cars such as BMWs, Mercedes and Acuras. They lose a little less than half their value after five years and 75,000 miles.

The percentages that follow the model show the estimated residual value after five years; the smaller the percentage, the more depreciation is projected to occur and the lower would be the residual value.

Here are the top 10 from Edmunds with the percentage of retained value:

Retained value after 5 years
Top 10 Bottom 10
BMW Z8 54% Hyundai Accent 20%
Mercedes Benz C class 54% Kia Spectra 22%
Mini Cooper 53% Chevrolet Cavalier 23%
Porsche 911 53% Dodge Neon 23%
Porsche Boxster 53% GMC Sonoma 23%
Lexus SC430 52% Dodge Intrepid 24%
Acura TL 52% Pontiac Sunfire 24%
Honda s2000 52% Pontiac Grand Am 24%
Dodge Viper 52% Chevrolet S-10 24%
Lexus GS300 52% Dodge Stratus 24%


These depreciation percentages are based on the national True Market Value (TMV), a proprietary calculation that is different from the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). The TMV is based on transactions throughout the country, and believes it is more in line with what consumers are actually paying than is the MSRP.

Another yardstick, similar results
Another company,, helps consumers compare leasing programs from competing banks using a three-year term and MSRP rather than Edmunds' five-year term and TMV. Their worst 10 and the retained value:

Retained value after 3 years
Bottom 10
Hyundai Accent 22%
Chevrolet Tracker 2WD 26%
Mazda 2300 2WD pickup 27%
Kia Rio 28%
Oldsmobile Alero 28%
Chevrolet Cavalier 29%
Dodge Intrepid SXT 29%
Kia Spectra 29%
Mercury Sable GS 29%
Buick Century 30%


Among popular cars in the $20,000 range, domestic models don't do as well as imports, according to, which publishes complete listings on residual values. The Ford Taurus SE four-door wagon retains 28% while the comparably priced Honda Accord EX four-door will still be worth 49% of its original cost after five years. Edmunds says the Taurus will lose more than a third of its value in the first year alone; the Honda about a quarter.

The popular Chrysler PT Cruiser, with a TMV of about $26,000, will have a residual value of 33% after five years. Cadillacs and Lincolns have some of the highest depreciation rates -- as much as 50% in one year, compared to cheaper compacts which can lose 35% of their value in their first year. The 2003 Lincoln Town Car will be worth about 32% of its TMV in 2008. also has studied residual values over three years. Its top 10 includes many of the same cars as the others, but placed at No. 5 the Honda Odyssey as retaining 60% of its MSRP of $27,360; and the Toyota Tacoma at No. 10, retaining 57% of its $22,335 MSRP.

When depreciation matters senior analyst Jesse Toprak says consumers should pay as much attention to retained value as monthly payments if they plan to keep a vehicle only a short period.

"If you are going to keep the vehicle for five years or longer, the depreciation rate will not have as dramatic an effect," he says. "But if you are going to trade it in a few years, you should look closely at depreciation. You have to look at the total cost."

Depreciation and residual value are absolutely critical in a lease, because your monthly payments are primarily determined by a car's estimated residual value.

Here's how:

All lease prices start with the residual value -- the amount the car will be worth at the end of the lease. Regardless of the MSRP, the monthly lease amount equals the amount of depreciation divided by the number of months of the lease term -- plus interest and a few added charges to make sure the dealer makes money. You are paying for the amount of its value you use -- the estimated depreciation -- during the lease.

Lenders usually set the residual value, and it's not a number you can negotiate. You can, of course, negotiate the price, and that affects your monthly payment because the depreciation you're paying for is the difference between the price and the residual value.

Vehicles that depreciate more slowly are going to have lower monthly lease payments. That's why a Mercedes can have a lower lease payment than a van. It's also why the least expensive cars on the road are poor candidates for leasing (but more attractive deals as used cars).

A Mercedes at a Chevy price
Take a Chevrolet Tracker with an MSRP of $17,155 and a residual value of only 17%. A simplified transaction would look like this: After three years, that car has a residual value of only $2,916 and would have used up $14,239 of its value. Its monthly lease payment (not including interest and fees) would be $14,239 divided by 36 months, or $396 a month.

Now compare that with the Toyota Tacoma that has an MSRP of $22,235 and a residual value of $13,100 in three years -- 43% of its original value. Dividing the depreciation into 36 monthly payments produces a monthly lease payment of $254. Its original price was $5,000 more than the Tracker, but you could lease it for roughly $140 a month less (or about $43 a month less if the Tracker’s current $3,500 rebate is figured in).

A Mercedes CLK with an MSRP of $50,670 loses only 36% of its value over three years ($17,770) to produce a monthly lease payment of $494 -- just $100 more a month than the Tracker.

That is the power of residual value.

975 Posts
Re: What\'s a car like this worth?

An aquaintance just sold his 1994 (purchased new) with 6000 mile on it for $43,000. I told him he was crazy to ask that much, but he sold it to his neighbor. It depends on how long your willing to wait for that right buyer.

1,644 Posts
Re: What\'s a car like this worth?

I think you should get $30-35k easily for it, but you will have to wait for the right buyer. Vipers are different then most cars because for the most part, they are toys and not needed.

Put it on Autotrader. Most Vipers on Ebay sell outside of the auction. If you don't have to sell it for a while, just let it ride on Autotrader till it does.


20 Posts
Re: What\'s a car like this worth?

I just paid 28k for a black 94 with 42,000 on it. There is a red one nearby with 16,000 on it, for 34k and the guy wont budge. You shouldnt take less than 38 - 40k for it unless you need the coin.
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