Sunday, July 24, 2016

This is it: 2007 Jetta GLI

Well, I got myself a new car today. I think I may have gotten the cleanest, nicest, most pristine 2007 car ever gotten.

Blue Book says this car should have upwards of 100k on the odometer. When I took it home, it had 50002. There are a couple minor things that would be expected on a 9 year old car. Most are cosmetic and not really a big deal.

The tires look new. The engine is clean. The seats are fantastic. The trunk is like new!

I saw a few scuffs on the rear bumper. I saw about a thumb sized spot by the right front foglight that's missing the paint. The left rear vent is missing its adjustment lever. The driver's side window buttons are peeling. There are spots around the shifter that are peeling as well. Nearly all 6 knobs for the radio (bass, treble, mids, etc) are cracked.

It looks like the previous owner had subwoofers in the trunk; there's some screwed in wood blocks that hang down from the top of the trunk. They're far enough out of the way, though, that it shouldn't matter.

Also, the previous owner apparently subscribed to XM (and still does) as I am currently enjoying me some XM radio.

The gray color of the car really sparkles in the sun. The headliner is not sagging. The engine and exhaust sound really nice when I step on it. The car has xenon headlights and foglights!

The previous owner kept her window sticker. The car was for sale at $29000 or so. I was able to get it for 1/3 of the original price!

Overall, fantastic first impressions of this car. So clean, so well taken care of. I think it's nicer than my GTI ever was. About the only thing that might need help soon are the brakes, but even then, I'm not sure. It doesn't stop as tight as the GTI did, but, then again, I used the transmission to brake often on that car.

I am super pleased with this GLI. I just noticed when I tried to post at the VW Vortex, that I'd been a member there for 15 years to the day! Which made me remember that I'd bought my original GTI from Chaplin's right around this time 15 years ago. I thought that was pretty cool.

I took a few pictures today before I brought it home. Here they are.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Car Fun: Narrowing it down

I've been driving the Hyundai the past two weeks since selling my GTI. The Hyundai is a perfectly acceptable car. It holds all my stuff, it looks great, it gets good gas mileage (on regular, no less), it gets me where I need to go reliably, and it's a big hatchback.

Trouble is, it's leased and it's up for turn in/purchase in a week or so.

I like it enough, but it just doesn't speak to me. Not like the GTI did, which I miss quite a bit.

Sure, the GTI had it's quirks, but I understood it. I knew how to get the electrical to work at the touch of a prong. I knew the driver's side door would squeak upon opening. I knew that the cupholders wouldn't eject unless you pressed on it *just right.*

Even with all those problems, I loved that car. I had it for 10 years, longer than I'd had any other car. But it's gone and there's nothing to do about it.

I've been looking around since selling the GTI. I've been looking on Craigslist, thinking I'd just hand over the $2300 I sold the GTI for to the next guy for a reliable car. However, after a few days of searching, it appeared that $2300 would buy me a scam, or something not good. Marci advised me not to do CL, to spend more money on a dealership used car or something.

What?? Spend more money? Well, OK.

I started looking on and and I started at about the $8k range, figuring that with a $2300 payment, it would reduce said car to $5700 or so, on which we could make small monthly payments.

I began by targeting price, then started looking at VWs of course. I found some Passat wagons, of the 2004-2005 era, going for $7k to $8k. I headed over to check one out last week, and it was gone. However, I saw a listing for a 2007 Jetta GLI, with about 48k on the odometer, going for $8998. I asked about it, they said it was sold. But it got me looking at the GLIs. showed a white one in Tacoma. I had a morning off this week, so I trucked down there to take a look. It was sort of a mess. Missing center caps on the wheels, spray painted taillights, big stain on the back seat, cracked windshield, it was a mess. It was hard to see all the detail in the pictures on the website, but needless to say, though I drove it, I didn't buy it. I also test drove an 07 GTI as well as a Mazda 3 hatchback, both of which were not great.

Fast forward to later this week and I come to find a nice little A4 Avant (2006) on BMW Seattle's website going for $12k (see how my price went up??). I was all excited about it, plus Knight said his boys there would hook me up, so I made an appointment to go see it on Sunday (tomorrow).

Then, after checking out this A4, I get a note about the first GLI going for $8998. Turns out they have it and it was getting cleaned up to be put out for sale. I took a look at the pictures and was pretty excited about what I saw. The car was in great shape and was in Bellevue. I talked to the sales guy a few times today and ended up going to Mercedes Benz of Bellevue to check it out.

I got there, ogled some AMG MB wagon, and then met with the sales rep, Evan. He brought me out back to see the Jetta and I was very pleasantly surprised. Dark gray, with nice 17" wheels. No major cosmetic defects other than some scuffs on the rear bumper, which for a 9 year old car, were to be expected.

I had a seat in the driver's seat, leather, and took a look around. Everything seemed to work. It had the moonroof package, leather seats, bi-xenon headlights, DSG automatic transmission, all the goodies! Inside had some wear and tear on the window buttons (peeling paint) and around the shifter (same), but nothing some black touch-up couldn't fix (maybe a Sharpie?).

He let me take it for a drive and it drove very well. Nice power (200HP) and that steering wheel felt great in hand. I only wish it was stick, but I'm sure I could live with it. He told me the previous owner had it shipped from Boston, where she went to Harvard. I'm not sure how accurate that is; Carfax tells me the car was bought in Boston, the relocated to CA, then up to WA in 2012. Regardless, the car is in better condition than my GTI was and I'm excited.

After driving the GLI, I was pretty much sold on it. We got back to the dealership and I had them put a 48 hour hold on the car. In other words, it's mine to buy or not; no one else can get it.

So, I want it.

And now I have to wait on the funding. I'll have to talk to Evan tomorrow to negotiate pricing. I'm looking to get him down to $8k or so. Then I'll slap down my $1900 ($400 has to go to Hyundai as the disposition fee for turning in the Elantra) and finance the rest.

Sounds easy for now. But a few things have to fall into place on the money side of things. I have the next two days off, but the banks aren't open until Monday. I'm hoping I can talk to Evan tomorrow, get him down to $8k, pay for the car, and have it by Monday. Then we just have to turn the Elantra in, and I'm back on the VW wagon!

Or, maybe not. We'll see what happens. Here are a few pictures the dealership took.

Monday, July 11, 2016

And it's gone

One week later, the GTI has sold. I have cash in hand now and I'm looking for another car. Don't know if we'll lease again as it is a little out of our reach financially. Trying to find something good for cash.

Surprisingly enough, there are some good looking cars out there in the 2k range, as long as I adjust my expectations. Trouble is, I have contacted about 5 people and none of them have gotten back to me. The cars look good in the ONE PICTURE they have, and there is hardly any info about the cars.

It's like they don't want to sell the cars.

Or, the deals were so good, they've already been sold. I guess that's Craigslist for you.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Selling the GTI

For a while now, I've had this GTI that I recently wrote about. The plan was to keep it for Hay when she turned 16.

Well, we just leased a Mazda CX-5 for our big car and now we have the GTI and the Hyundai Elantra GT (for the next month, anyway). We were gonna turn in the Hyundai unless we could come up with a way to get another car for cheap. But likely, we were gonna keep the GTI, warts and all.

Marci started thinking about things and felt uncomfortable about letting Haley drive the GTI even though it was 2 years down the road. For me, the GTI is fine. I get all the quirks and know how to handle them. It has never not gotten me to where I need to go. But for a first time driver, as well as a first time stick driver, Marci thought it wouldn't be great for Haley.

So we started thinking about what to do. Enter the 4th of July ads for Hyundai of Kirkland. They showed a 2016 Elantra GT, with $1499 down and a $99/month payment! Sure, we'd be leasing 2 cars and owning none, but from a monthly financial perspective, it would work out for us. Trouble is, we don't have the down payment.


I put the GTI up on Craigslist this morning right before 11am. I listed it at $2599. At about 11:10, I received 2 phone calls. One guy asked about it, then wanted to talk to his son. The next guy asked a few questions and basically said he wanted it. He was nearby and got to the house by noon. We took it for a drive around the neighborhood and he was sold. He drove up in a MKIV Jetta (same vintage as the GTI) and was a self-proclaimed VW guy, so that made me feel good too. He offered to buy the car right then and there.

I was pretty excited and started getting everything together, including what I thought was the title. But it wasn't. We looked around and couldn't find it. This guy, Daniel, said he still wanted it but we needed the title, so he left while Marci and I tore the house apart looking for it.

Needless to say, we never found it, so we filled out a lost title affidavit, which, once notarized, acts as as a temporary title. But we had to find a notary that was open/would work on a Sunday. We were able to find a local woman who did it, so we went over to her place tonight and had the affidavit notarized.

I've contacted Daniel in the meantime, let him know I'm ready for him, and... he's gone radio silent. Texts, phone calls, etc. I'm not ready to write him off yet; he seemed like a solid guy, had cash in hand this morning, but now I'm wondering if he found something else. He said he'd been looking for a car but was always the last caller. Today, he was the second caller.

I did take the GTI for a quick goodbye drive to get gas today. I stomped on it getting on the freeway and then took it on some twistys on the way back home. This is such a fun car to drive! But now I'm starting to feel like it's time. Sort of depends on Daniel, I guess.