Monday, March 3, 2008

Low mileage or high mileage DeLorean?

So assuming you’ve decided to buy from a present owner or (non DMC) dealer, you will undoubtedly encounter this questions, and the answer may not be as straight forward as you think.

The first thing that you should know, is that one of the highest failure rate parts on a DeLorean is called the angle drive, whose function is to feed the speedometer and the odometer. Broken angle drive = miles not recorded on the odometer. So therefore you should always ask if the vehicle you are looking at has ever had, and/or if it currently has, a broken angle drive, and if so, then ask what the estimated true mileage on the car is.

With that out of the way, then you can dig into the decision of low versus high miles. It can be a complicated topic because either could be better than the other. For example, here are some positives and negatives of each.

Low Miles, Pro: Value of car may be more today, and in the future.
Low Miles, Pro: Exterior/Interior condition may be in very good shape.
Low Miles, Con: May have sat for many years, neglected. Many of the weaker engineered/unreliable parts still need to be replaced.
Low Miles, Con: Depreciation due to usage is higher than a high mile car.

High Miles, Pro: Least reliable parts, original flaws, may have been worked out.
High Miles, Pro: Might possibly cost less, than a low mile car – a perception thing.
High Miles, Con: May show its age in the interior and exterior.
High Miles, Con: Affects the perceived value. Depending on maintenance history may require repairs.

So as you can see, it is really not a cut and dry topic, and it also depends on how you plan to use the car. If you are looking for hop in, turn the key, and go, the best maintained (and documented) car may be the best bet and in many cases that may be the high mileage car. If on the other hand you are looking for a low mile beauty, be prepared to fix or spend, especially if it hasn’t had the proper maintenance. Beware of a low mile car, that’s been in storage – that may, at the very least, require a complete fuel system maintenance before you even think of turning the key.

Incidently, the odometer picture above was a DeLorean show car, mint, concours condition, with only 587 miles on it!

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