I sold the Vanden Plas earlier today for just a smidgen more than I paid for it. I like the car and felt it was good value, but I’m going to stick to genuinely old stuff for the time being.
I’ve been doing some long-delayed work on the ’63 MGB–I’ll post a roundup of what’s been happening under that bonnet in the next day or so.
Generally speaking, I’m very pleased with the Vanden Plas. I’ve put a few thousand miles on it and it has returned a rock steady 23 MPG — overall. On the highway it gets very close to 30 MPG.
I picked this car up on Saturday with the help of my friend Jeff. Seems like a good machine so far, the usual “oh my god, what have I done” moment hasn’t yet arrived (you’ll know when it does). I even got 28 MPG on the trip back!
Consider: This car was $69,000 new in 1996 (in today’s dollars, that’s about $90,000). I’m paying almost exactly 5% of the 1996 price for this car, in 2008. That depreciation is absolutely mind-boggling; in constant dollars, the car essentially lost 97% of its value in a bit more than a decade. Much as I love Jaguars, I cannot imagine buying one new unless I had chests of gold doubloons.
This Vanden Plas is not absolutely perfect, but it is in very nice condition, with 84,000 miles. I think it’s “Kingfisher Blue,” which is a darkish blue-green, depending on the light. The inside has all the usual excess, including lambswool over-rugs and picnic tables for those carefree afternoons
picnicking in wine country gorging on gut bombs at the drive-in. It’s also the long-wheelbase version, which means the rear doors are about ten feet long.