I wrote the other day that I was looking at selling my Corvette to fund our future travel trailer purchase. For those who are
Background on the Corvette
I bought my 2008 Corvette in October of 2007 as a brand new car. Young, dumb, and with a high paying job I bought a car that required almost all of my liquid cash. I hadn’t planned it to end up that way.
At the time one hobby I had was test driving cars. I would go to a car dealer and test drive the latest model. Sometimes this was because the manufacturer gave out a visa gift card in exchange for a test drive. Other times however I would just test drive a car for the pure joy of doing so.
Anyway, one of those pure joy drives was a new Corvette. I was instantly hooked. I had to have one. As per my mantra of getting good value, I sat on that desire for about 6 months. Finally I decided to pull the trigger. So I did my research on the best place to buy a Corvette and determined it was a large volume dealer in a different state.
The Corvette Purchase
After much negotiation, I put in an order for a
A Corvette Bought with Cash, Well Somewhat..
Anyway, as noted I used basically the equivalent of all my liquid cash. To avoid actually having
Actual Annual Corvette Expenses
In addition, insurance is dirt cheap on the car. Apparently, most Corvettes are owned by old men. As such they do not wreck as often. Therefore my insurance has been about $300 a year in perpetuity. Add to that there is no yearly tax assessment on cars in my state, only a $40 registration fee. Finally, maintenance has averaged about $65 for a yearly oil change over the last 10 years. All in the car currently costs me about $405 a year in actual expenditures. That’s honestly a rounding error on our expenses or another person’s 3 dollar coffee for 1/3 of the days of the year.
So Why Am I Considering Selling with Such Low Costs?
So why if the car costs me the same in new money as a casual coffee addiction am I considering selling? Well, honestly it’s because the car really costs me more than $405 a year. You see there are a number of things not included in the average.
- The car is getting near a need for new tires. This will be the first tire change for the car (these are low mileage cars after all). That is probably $1500 out of pocket, or almost as much as I have spent on the car in the last 4 years. The car is getting older so more maintenance of this price range is probably on the horizon. A Corvette is a low maintenance cost car, but I still expect a balloon in yearly costs to a minimum $800 a year on average.
- The car as it sits is worth about $24-25,000. The opportunity cost of that money has value. With current risk-free interest rates in the high 3 to 4% range that means the opportunity cost of the car is at least $1000 a year.
- What about the cost of depreciation? In reality each year it ages my car decreases in value. That being said given the specialty nature of the car there is typically a floor on cost. Even a 1999 Corvette in very good condition with double my miles is a $10K car. As such my car is depreciating but it’s a snail’s pace, probably 500 a year or less.
Does My Value from the Corvette Exceed the Cost?
Add the numbers up and my toy will likely cost me about $2,300 a year going forward. So the question is, do I value the
A Change in Answer
When I first got my car I’d do long drives to places like Michigan, Georgia, and Florida either alone or with my now wife. Now however I have a 6 and
What about short ones? Well, I have little free time to just go on a joy ride as I use too. I took the car in for its 2-year inspection in November and was horrified to determine I’d put less than 1000 miles on the car in 2 years. This is even worse when you realize I drove the car to work more this year than previously. One of my trips early on would have put that many miles on the car in a weekend. This means even before gas the car is costing me more than $4 a mile. So I sat back and asked myself, is the value of having a toy car worth $4 for every mile I drive it? The answer was probably not.
The Hassle of Upkeep
Lest you think my life is only about the finances I also took into account the hassle of finding time to take the car in for oil changes, shuffle it around my driveway and garage, and otherwise manage it. This too has been more recently than the time I spent actually driving the car.
Values Change Over Time
I guess what I’m saying is I found the car no longer really fit with my life and mantra of buying what I value. You need to determine before you buy something whether it fits with your values, but values can also change with time. You should from time to time evaluate if what you have/are maintaining still fits your values. The Corvette does not fit my values for this stage in my life. As such in the spring it will be time to look for a buyer.
Honestly, I’m still a car fanatic. It’s in some ways hard to square this conclusion with that fact. Still, I know once the kids are out of the house another sports car will darken my doorstep. I also know for daily drivers I will continue to own spirited if family oriented cars with stick shifts. It just wasn’t worth holding onto the one I have until my life again fit that reality. I’ll miss that car, but it’s time to move on to more family-oriented hobbies like camping. Which me luck on the sale.
Have you ever found a major purchase no longer fit with your values?